40,000 jobs at risk over Brexit uncertainty, Jaguar Land Rover warns
Jaguar Land Rover has warned that 40,000 jobs could be at risk over Brexit uncertainty.
The UK’s largest car manufacturer said that while its “heart and soul” was in the UK, the firm could be forced to relocate its operations if Britain leaves the single market after Brexit.
“We, and our partners in the supply chain, face an unpredictable future if the Brexit negotiations do not maintain free and frictionless trade with the EU and unrestricted access to the single market, warned the firm’s chief executive, Dr Ralf Speth.
The manufacturing giant said that 40,000 jobs at the firm could be at risk, while a further 260,000 Brits working in the supply chain could find their jobs lost.
Dr Speth added: “For more that 250 years, since the era of Adam Smith, Britain has championed free markets and made the case for free trade.
“If the UK automotive industry is to remain globally competitive and protect 300,000 jobs in Jaguar Land Rover and our supply chain, we must retain tariff and customs-free access to trade and talent with no change to current EU regulations.”
The warning comes ahead of a crunch Chequers summit between Theresa May and her cabinet to discuss the post-Brexit deal they will seek to negotiate with the EU.
Around one in three cars currently exported from the UK are either Land Rovers or Jaguars, but the firm warned that a bad deal from Brussels could put £80bn worth of investment at risk.
“A bad Brexit deal would cost Jaguar Land Rover more than £1.2bn profit each year," Dr Speth said.
“As a result, we would have to drastically adjust our spending profile.
“We have spent around £50bn in the UK in the past five years, with plans for a further £80bn more in the next five.
“This would be in jeopardy should we be faced with the wrong outcome.”
The comments come after similar warnings from Airbus and BMW, who have both said that their UK-based operations could be in jeopardy if the Government fails to strike a customs arrangement deal with the EU.
Following those warnings in June, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that threats from business were “completely inappropriate”.
But responding to JLR’s comments, Business Secretary Greg Clark said the firm “is a great British success story."
He added: “We are determined to make sure it can continue to prosper and to invest in Britain.”
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