Jaguar Land Rover has warned that a ‘bad’ post-Brexit trading deal with the European Union could cost thousands of jobs.
A White Paper outlining the Government’s proposed post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU is due to be published tomorrow (Friday, July 6).
JLR chief executive Ralf Speth called on the Government to urgently provide certainty for business including guaranteed tariff-free access and frictionless trade with the EU.
“A bad Brexit deal would cost Jaguar Land Rover more than £1.2bn profit each year,” the boss of Britain’s largest vehicle manufacturer based near Gaydon 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.
“For more than 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.
“Electrification and connectivity offer significant economic and productivity opportunities – get Brexit wrong and British people, businesses and broader society lose the chance to lead in smart mobility.”
Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright, whose constituency covers Gaydon, said he took JLR’s concerns seriously.
“Jaguar Land Rover are perfectly entitled to express concern. But we’re trying to get to the point where there’s a good deal on the table,” he said.
“But it’s very complicated. While we’re negotiating it’s difficult to give businesses certainty.
“We don’t know what the final situation will be. It’s a first for them and it’s a first for us.”
Mr Wright also said JLR was still keen to invest in the UK.
“The tax base that they have here is very much to their liking. But they are obviously worried about having access to the European market,” he added,
“We’re doing our best to minimise this risk. But until there’s a deal, there will be uncertainty. It’s an inevitable consequence.”
The Cabinet will be meeting at the Prime Minister’s county retreat at Chequers tomorrow to try to formulate a trade deal to present to the EU.