Brexit drives car makers off the road
UK automakers are pressuring the government to cut a Brexit deal that, as a minimum, maintains customs union membership and single market benefits. “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,” says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The first six months of 2018 have demonstrated the Brexit effect. Production output has slipped alongside slower demand for new vehicles while there have also been job cuts. Just £347m was earmarked for investment in new models, equipment and plant in the UK, almost half the total for the same period in 2017.
“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,” says Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “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.”