Jaguar Land Rover warns UK government about consequences of hard Brexit
The English car manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, now owned by the Indian Tata group, has warned the English government that investments in the UK could fade away when a hard Brexit comes through.
JLR CEO, Ralf Speth, has warned Prime Minister Theresa May and her government officially: “We and our suppliers are confronted with a very uncertain future if the Brexit negotiations don’t retain commercial relations without toll borders and with a direct, unlimited access to the unified European market.”
“A bad Brexit agreement would cost JLR more than 1,2 billion pounds of benefit”, he declared, “as a consequence we will be obliged to revise our investment strategy thoroughly.” He added that the 80 billion pounds 5-year investment plan in the UK would be severely threatened.
JLR employs 40.000 people (directly) in the UK. The leader of the most important British workers union Unite, secretary-general Len McCluskey, has also commented on this: “I warn the British Conservative Party, they don’t have the right to play Russian roulette with our jobs.”
He further urged the government to abandon his red lines in the negotiations with Brussels, to be more supple and to forget the promise of leaving the European union entirely.
Today Theresa May and her government will come together at her country residence Chequers for a very important meeting. At less than 9 months away from the official Brexit date, the EU has urged the May administration for a clear point of view.
Hardliners in favour of a hard Brexit are Foreign Affairs Minister Boris Johnson, Brexit Minister David Davies and Environmental Minister Michael Gove.
On the other side there is the Minister of Finance Phillip Hammond and the Minister of Industry Greg Clark. They are in favour of a far ‘softer’ solution of keeping a sort of unprecedented customs union between the EU and the UK.
Customs with technology
May seems to go for a compromise: a customs partnership with technology aiding to have controls as few as possible. Having met Angela Merkel this week, May promised that the Chequers meeting “would offer the path to continue and accelerate the negotiations and to deepen the understanding”.
Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, at the moment presiding the European Union member state meetings, has supported Theresa May in her search for a fair agreement and has even proposed a prolongation of talks if a fair deal can’t be closed within the foreseen time limit of 9 months.