News Brexit warn­ing for lead­ers of in­dus­try

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

SHADOW Brexit Sec­re­tary Keir Starmer has warned the “huge suc­cess” in man­u­fac­tur­ing in Coven­try and War­wick­shire – par­tic­u­larly in the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor – can only con­tinue if a cus­toms union is main­tained when Bri­tain leaves the EU.

Mr Starmer vis­ited au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­turer Brose in Ex­hall, be­fore trav­el­ling on to WMG at the Univer­sity of Warwick to meet Jaguar Land Rover bosses and other in­dus­try lead­ers.

The Labour MP was taken on a tour of the Brose fac­tory in Col­liery Lane, which makes seat struc­tures for Jaguar Land Rover and which has seen £70m of in­vest­ment over the last five years and the cre­ation of 700 jobs.

Brose cur­rently em­ploys al­most 1,000 peo­ple at its two fac­to­ries in Ex­hall and Coven­try.

He said: “Vis­its like this are re­ally help­ful in help­ing us all un­der­stand the chal­lenges of mod­ern man­u­fac­tur­ing and in par­tic­u­lar the im­pact of Brexit on sec­tors like this.

“There is ob­vi­ously a level of con­cern.

“What you have got here is huge suc­cess in man­u­fac­tur­ing, which is ab­so­lutely de­pen­dent on parts com­ing in just in time, cross­ing bor­ders and at the other end get­ting cars out across the UK and the EU.

“The con­cern is about the fact that with­out main­tain­ing the cus­toms agree­ments we have now, you in­tro­duce cost and de­lay and that is cost and de­lay this sec­tor can­not af­ford.

“That is why we have been so in­sis­tent there has got to be a UK/EU cus­toms union – pre­cisely to pro­tect these sorts of man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses.”

Asked whether he felt there was public sup­port for a cus­toms union Mr Starmer said: “The fo­cus is on the need for a cus­toms union and more and more peo­ple are ap­pre­ci­at­ing the huge risk to our man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor if we don’t have a cus­toms union with the EU.

“It is deeply re­gret­table that the Gov­ern­ment does not have a pro­posal for a cus­toms union.

“It is still ar­gu­ing about two cus­toms op­tions, nei­ther of which are ac­cept­able to the EU and nei­ther of which will solve the prob­lems we have been talk­ing about to­day.”

Mr Starmer added: “The Gov­ern­ment needs to change its tune and needs to prove it­self to the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor about tar­iffs and the bor­ders.

“All busi­nesses are ask­ing for is to be able to suc­ceed in what they have been suc­ceed­ing at in the past.

“This is not a po­lit­i­cal point it is about how you run a mod­ern man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor in the UK.

“The best ap­proach to cus­toms ar­range­ments would be to say let’s look at what works and let’s build on that and that is why we say a cus­toms union has got to be part of fu­ture ar­range­ments.”

With Coven­try be­ing one of the UK city’s strongly in favour of Brexit, Mr Starmer said he ac­cepted the will of the peo­ple and that there was no dis­put­ing the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum.

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