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Led by Donkeys

A company that praised Brexit as "excellent" for business is now near collapse after the government rejected a £30m ($34m) advance.

Four months ago, battery start-up Britishvolt said Brexit played a significant part in helping build the UK's first gigafactory. Speaking to the Express in June, CEO Orral Nadjari said: "Brexit, for us, has allowed us to be the one (in the UK), rather than being one of many in Europe.

"That has made us the company of choice for many and made it easier for investors."

He continued: "All in all, for Britishvolt, Brexit has been excellent, it has allowed us to potentially become the next energy champion of the UK."

The government, which backed the development, had committed £100m ($114m) for the project.

"The government’s support for the gigafactory will help to unlock a significant amount of further support from private investors," GOV.uk reads. "Alongside private sector investment, the project is set to create 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs and another 5,000 indirect jobs in the wider supply chain."

Former prime minister Boris Johnson also gushed about the project at the time, saying: "Britishvolt’s plan to build a new gigafactory in Northumberland is a strong testament to the skilled workers of the North East and the UK’s place at the helm of the global green industrial revolution.

"Backed by government and private sector investment, this new battery factory will boost the production of electric vehicles in the UK, whilst levelling up opportunity and bringing thousands of new highly-skilled jobs to communities in our industrial heartlands."

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Fast forward to October, Britishvolt could go into administration after being rejected for a government advance of almost a third of the agreed funding.

Ian Lavery, the Labour MP for Wansbeck, told the BBC he had spoken to Britishvolt's CEO, who said they had requested the £30m advance for the project to go forward.

He said: "The chairman informs me that the government have replied overnight [with] Grant Shapps the new Business Secretary, saying that they are not prepared to do that and as a consequence it very likely that Britishvolt will go into administration."

Lavery added: "It is fairly and squarely at the door of the government for basically not agreeing to bring monies forward which will ensure that this project will continue. It is absolutely outrageous - what happened to levelling up?"

A Britishvolt spokesperson told the BBC that the company was "aware of market speculation" and was "actively working on several potential scenarios that offer the required stability".

"We have no further comment at this time," they added.

Indy100 reached out to Britishvolt for comment.

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