It was only Project Fear. It was just the whining of Bitter Remoaners. It had more to do with the EU waging war on diesel cars. If only we could all be more optimistic and smile. A big boy did it and ran away. The excuses from Brexiteers keep on coming, but now they are being outpaced by the gathering storm of bad news. The UK Government has been messing business about for long enough. Now they will reap the whirlwind.
Nissan has cancelled proposed investment in its Sunderland plant which would have secured thousands of jobs. Now, as Sky News has told, “Honda to stun ministers with closure of Swindon factory … The Japanese carmaker is expected to disclose plans to close its Swindon plant in 2022, Sky News can reveal”.
As Sky’s Jason Farrell pointed out, the announcement should not have been unexpected: “Only last month Honda told sky news: ‘the UK’s departure from the EU without a withdrawal agreement would pose serious challenges’”. So how bad is the news?
Very bad. “Honda is preparing to announce the closure of its factory in Swindon, dealing a devastating blow both to its 3,500-strong workforce and ministers' hopes that the UK will remain an elite manufacturing economy after Brexit … Sky News has learnt that the Japanese car manufacturer could disclose the plan as soon as Tuesday morning”.
There was more in the same vein. “A Honda spokesman did not return calls seeking comment on Monday … If confirmed, the move will represent a further savage blow to Britain's automotive sector amid enormous uncertainty surrounding the terms of future trade with the European Union … the company will retain its European headquarters in Bracknell, Berkshire, as well as its Formula One racing team operations in the UK”.
And it will affect a lot more than 3,500 livelihoods: “The decision to permanently shut the Swindon factory will stun trade unions, and potentially put thousands of additional jobs at risk in the automotive industry supply chain and supporting businesses”. Why is it happening? “While factors other than Brexit are said to have contributed to Honda's decision, the timing of its announcement is likely to be viewed as an incendiary development with a no-deal Brexit potentially just under six weeks away”.
Also, our Prime Minister also knew there was more than a possibility of bad news on the way: “Theresa May attempted to reassure business leaders last week that an agreed departure from the EU remained the likeliest outcome, but was warned during a conference call that companies including Ford were accelerating plans to divert jobs and investment abroad”. She was warned. She did nothing. Thus the outcome.
Jobs are starting to leave the country. Who will bring us the next slice of bad news? Will it be another car manufacturer? If so, which? Jaguar Land Rover? Toyota? BMW, who make the Mini and Rolls-Royce? Volkswagen, who own Bentley Motors? Will Vauxhall finally be pulled out of the UK? Will it be another sector - Airbus, perhaps?
Whatever the source of the next body blow to the UK economy, there is one common factor to all of these recent announcements: Brexit, and its resultant uncertainty. We have an inept and tribal Government which is unable to hold itself together and take action at the same time. This is down to Brexiteer Tories. Time for them to own the problem.
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