Continuing to Threaten a Disorderly Brexit is Irresponsible and Wrong

While Members of Parliament rejected – under any circumstances – a no-deal Brexit a fortnight ago, but the threat still looms over the process. It’s making industry uneasy, and we are already feeling the strain without even having left the European Union yet. The automotive industry is a crucial part of the economy of the North West and we must do everything we can to avoid irreparable damage to this industry.

To give an impression of how severe the damage of just a 10% tariff – what we might expect in the event of leaving the EU without a deal – would cost the UK automotive industry at least £4.5bn annually. This will have huge knock-on effects to other parts of the economy, and would further compound issues.

Currently, we rely on an incredibly effective just-in-time manufacturing chain. Over a thousand lorries deliver tens of millions worth of parts and component to UK vehicle and engine plants every single day. Even the slightest delays at the border will have huge consequences and disruptions to this finely tuned chain of production. According to the SMMT (The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), the cost of delays may add up to more than £2billion per week to the industry.

The mere threat of leaving the European Union has already taken its toll on automotive companies, with a fifth of companies reporting that they have lost business as a direct consequence of Brexit and more than half have seen operations suffer. Inward investment in the automotive sector is reported to have reduced by almost half. It’s time for the government to wake up and end threats of a destructive no-deal Brexit.

Frictionless trade, which we enjoy through our current membership of the EU, is vital to this industry and I will be working hard, using my platform in the European Parliament, to bring to light this threat. A disorderly and reckless no-deal Brexit poses such a great threat to my region and I want to see every effort made to avoid it.