Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is giving a speech later today about the election and the automobile industry in the UK. In this speech, in this extract published in today’s Daily Mirror, he will set out the risks a hard Brexit poses to the industry.
The automotive industry employs 52,000 in the West Midlands and 20,000 in the North West. So, 46.5 per cent of vehicle manufacturing jobs are in these two regions.
I fought while prime minister to save and expand Jaguar and Vauxhall, I worked with Nissan, Honda and Ford and I am not going to give up the fight for jobs now ...
It’s a car industry with a huge advantage we’ve built that differs from our past: we are so competitive and productive that we export 80 per cent of what we produce. And, by beating foreign competitors, half of all cars and vehicles produced in Britain are today sold into the European Union.
What’s more, the British car industry is so integrated with mainland Europe that hundreds of millions of parts and components go back and forward before we assemble the completed car in Britain.
Any disruption to this integrated European supply chain, such as charging tariffs at £1,000- £2,000 extra per car, imposing custom barriers and losing crippling legal actions over rules of origin – will instantly threaten British jobs and livelihoods ...
We hear a lot about getting out of what are said to be burdensome European single market regulations, about the freedom that comes from abandoning the customs union, about ending the rule of the European Court of Justice and about getting our money back as well as controlling our own borders but what manufacturing needs - tax-free, tariff-free access and the frictionless movement of goods in and out of continental Europe - is barely mentioned by Mrs May - and almost seems to have been relegated to an afterthought.
Throughout my political life I have fought for jobs and high-quality jobs for British workers in every industry and region and nation of the country and I refuse to give in to those who would put the security of our jobs at the bottom of the list in any agenda of Brexit negotiating requirements.