Wrong Brexit deal can 'lead to loss of jobs'

The wrong Brexit deal could cost tens of thousands of jobs, the boss of Britain's biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover warned on Tuesday, saying he had no idea whether his plants would be able to operate after Britain leaves the EU next year.

By TT Bureau in Birmingham
  • Published 12.09.18
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Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth

Birmingham: The wrong Brexit deal could cost tens of thousands of jobs, the boss of Britain's biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover warned on Tuesday, saying he had no idea whether his plants would be able to operate after Britain leaves the EU next year.

Ralf Speth also said that the company would not be able to build cars if customs checks meant that the motorway to and from the southern English port of Dover, which is used to transport components, becomes a "car park" because of snarl-ups.

Speth made the warning at a conference in Birmingham, central England, speaking shortly before Prime Minister Theresa May, who is battling to have her so-called Chequers Brexit plan accepted by many in her Conservative Party as well as the EU ahead of Britain's departure from the bloc on March 29.

"A thousand (jobs were) lost as a result of diesel policy and those numbers will be counted in the tens of thousands if we do not get the right Brexit deal," warned Speth, referring to redundancies made earlier this year at the firm.

"Currently I do not even know if any of our manufacturing facilities in the UK will be able to function on the 30th," he said.

The boss of JLR, which built nearly a third of Britain's cars last year, also said long-standing issues around low productivity in Britain could be compounded by a Brexit agreement which made the country less competitive.

"It is thousands of pounds cheaper to produce vehicles for instance in eastern Europe than in Solihull and what decisions will I be forced to make if Brexit means not merely that costs go up but that we cannot physically build cars on time and on budget in the UK?" he said.

'Time running out'

Britain's finance minister Philip Hammond said on Tuesday time was running out to secure a Brexit deal and confirmed that Bank of England governor Mark Carney had agreed to stay to help the country through "a turbulent period" for its economy.

Hammond said the government was devoting all its efforts to securing a deal on a new relationship with the EU before Britain leaves the bloc in March next year but admitted the clock was ticking.

"Time is running out. We are working against the clock, we understand that," Hammond told parliament. "We will be working flat out over the coming weeks and months to achieve (a deal)."

Hammond also confirmed that Carney, who said last week he was prepared to stay in his job, had agreed to remain until 2020. Reuters

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