Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane visited Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd site in Swindon on Thursday 29 March 2018 as part of a cross-party delegation led by the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT)*. This visit was part of an educational programme furthering parliamentarians’ knowledge within the manufacturing sector.
The manufacturing plant based in Swindon, is Honda’s flagship production facility in Europe, currently employing a workforce of around 4,000 and between 2016 and 2017 took on 600 new people as a result of a recent £200mn investment. The visit emphasised why Swindon was chosen as the location for Honda’s UK production site as well as providing insight into day-to-day operations at the factory.
During the visit, parliamentarians’ met with various members at the factory for a question and answer session covering topics such as skills, apprenticeships, and education, as well as training and the environmental performance of the factory. As part of the visit eight parliamentarians were given a tour of the fully integrated car manufacturing facility – from casting and engine assembly through to welding and final assembly.
The highlight of the visit for many of the delegation was the insight gained into the Hydrogen Fuelling Station, which included a hands on session with the Honda Clarity Hydrogen electric car. This session enabled parliamentarians to explore the use hydrogen as a viable fuel alternative to petrol and gave them insight into the HyFive project, a European initiative to push the development of fuel cell vehicles.
The visit enabled all visiting parliamentarians to gain insight into the opportunities and challenges that Honda faces in Europe, in particular Honda’s production process and will assist them with their roles and committees in Parliament.
Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane, and PPS in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs commented:
“I would like to thank all the staff at Honda who gave up their time today and also to thank the IPT for their help in organising this cross-party visit. It was most informative to see first-hand the Hydrogen fuelling station and the Clarity car, and to speak with the employees working across manufacturing, skills, and exports about both the day-to-day and long term challenges of their work.”
Louise Hanson, Head of Business Operations, Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd added:
“Our Swindon factory is a key part of Honda's highly integrated European regional operations. We were delighted to have the opportunity to discuss our business and the future of Honda of the UK Manufacturing with a cross-party of parliamentarians. It is also great to support the work the Industry and Parliament Trust does in order to bridge the gap between industry and Parliament.”