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UK Car Industry Warns 860,000 Jobs At Risk Due To Brexit Uncertainty

UK Car Industry Warns 860,000 Jobs At Risk Due To Brexit Uncertainty
About 860,000 jobs would be put at risk in the UK car industry as it feels that it has “no Brexit dividend” for itself and jobs would be lost if the government does not “rethink” its red lines in Brexit negotiations, the industry has warned.
“There is no Brexit dividend for our industry,” Michael Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said.
Investment is being impeded by Brexit uncertainty, it said and renewed its call for the UK to remain in the customs partnership till such time that the government is able to device a “credible plan B”. 
The SMMT said that because there is slowing investment and with limited time at hand, there is need of the negotiators must to hasten the task of agreeing to a deal that will be bale to bring to an end to the uncertainty and put the needs of the automotive sector at a priority.
It has been eight straight years that the sector has seen growth and the turnover for 20-17 was a record £82bn. However, the industry body said that there were signs of a slowdown for the industry in 2018 in terms of output and the investments that were set aside for new models, equipment and facilities within the country has been halved to about £347m.
The frustration of the sector with Brexit is evident in the lengthy statement of the SMMT which also hinted that car makers including BMW, Honda and Nissan would be required to shift their production outside of the country if required the Brexit uncertainty persists for a longer period of time.
“With decisions on new vehicle models in the UK due soon, government must take steps to boost investor confidence and safeguard the thousands of jobs that depend on the sector,” it said.
The industry body said that there was “no credible Plan B” with the government with respect to customs arrangements after Brexit which could allow free flow of the Port of Dover.
“Just in time” is a production strategy that car makers use which entails last minute supply of car parts for production which crosses the English Channel from their EU based supply units just hours before they would be needed for manufacturing on the assembly line. Such components are brought into the country daily in over 1,000 trucks.
“The current position, with conflicting messages and red lines goes directly against the interests of the UK automotive sector which has thrived on single market and customs union membership,” said Hawes. “There is no credible ‘plan B’ for frictionless customs arrangements, nor is it realistic to expect that new trade deals can be agreed with the rest of the world that will replicate the immense value of trade with the EU. Government must rethink its position on the customs union.”
Maintaining the benefits of the single market and the continued membership of the customs union are the ways that can help achieve frictionless borders, he added.
“There is no Brexit dividend for our industry, particularly in what is an increasingly hostile and protectionist global trading environment. Our message to government is that until it can demonstrate exactly how a new model for customs and trade with the EU can replicate the benefits we currently enjoy, don’t change it,” he said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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