Huge boost for Brexit Bri­tain as BMW de­fies Re­moan­ers with car plant pledge on day of eco­nomic good news

Daily Mail - - News - By James Salmon Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

BMW de­liv­ered a vote of con­fi­dence in post-Brexit Bri­tain yes­ter­day as it pledged to build the elec­tric Mini here.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously warned it could move pro­duc­tion to the Nether­lands, the Ger­man car gi­ant re­vealed the next gen­er­a­tion of the car will be as­sem­bled at its his­toric home in Cow­ley, Ox­ford.

The first fully elec­tric Mini E will roll off the pro­duc­tion line in 2019, just as Bri­tain cuts ties with the EU.

The elec­tric driv­e­train – the com­po­nents that trans­fer power from the trans­mis­sion to the wheels - will be built in Ger­many, be­fore be­ing shipped to the UK.

Bosses at BMW had told share­hold­ers that the elec­tric Mini could be man­u­fac­tured at its smaller plant in the Nether­lands, as they ratch­eted up pres­sure on min­is­ters to thrash out a favourable deal for the car in­dus­try in Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

There had also been mount­ing spec­u­la­tion that the firm would build a plant in Ger­many.

But yes­ter­day BMW be­came the lat­est in­ter­na­tional car­maker to back Bri­tain, with Nis­san, Jaguar Land Rover and Toy­ota all re­veal­ing plans to ramp up pro­duc­tion and in­vest in their UK car plants.

It also be­came the lat­est man­u­fac­turer to out­line plans to boost pro­duc­tion of elec­tric cars. BMW said it would be able to of­fer a fully elec­tric ver­sion of any new model of BMW or Mini launched from 2020, if there was enough de­mand.

Tory MPs last night de­scribed the firm’s de­ci­sion as a ‘clear en­dorse­ment’ of Bri­tish car man­u­fac­tur­ing, its work­force and its long term eco­nomic prospects.

It is also a boost to the 4,500 work­ers who churn out around 1,000 Mi­nis a day at the 100-acre plant. BMW em­ploys 24,000 staff in the UK, from the fac­tory floor to its deal­er­ships, in­clud­ing the Rolls-Royce fac­tory in Sus­sex, and other plants in Birm­ing­ham and Swin­don.

Busi­ness sec­re­tary Greg Clark, who is said to have met BMW board mem­ber Ian Robert­son four times this year, said: ‘This land­mark de­ci­sion is a vote of con­fi­dence in the de­ter­mi­na­tion of our in­dus­trial strat­egy to make Bri­tain the go-to place in

‘An at­trac­tive place to in­vest’

the world for the next gen­er­a­tion of ve­hi­cles.

‘BMW’s de­ci­sion recog­nises the strength of the ex­cel­lent work­force, our record of in­no­va­tion and the pro­duc­tive re­la­tion­ship be­tween the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor and the Gov­ern­ment. The au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is a great Bri­tish suc­cess story and the Mini is a big part of that.’

BMW’s move comes af­ter a string of dire warn­ings from the car in­dus­try about the dam­age from Brexit.

The mo­tor trade body the SMMT has de­scribed leav­ing the EU with­out a free trade deal as the big­gest ‘threat to the car in­dus­try for a gen­er­a­tion’, amid fears that hefty tar­iffs will be im­posed. Car mak­ers have warned that the prospect of tar­iffs could push up the cost of man­u­fac­tur­ing, forc­ing them to in­crease their prices.

With 80 per cent of the 1.7mil­lion cars built in the UK ex­ported – mainly to the EU – some are wor­ried that plants in the UK will no longer be able to com­pete.

Last night pro-Brexit MPs and City ex­perts said com­mon sense

had pre­vailed. Sir Bill Cash, Tory MP for Stone, said: ‘ The doom­say­ers and the prophets of fear are be­ing given a les­son in prac­ti­cal com­mon sense. This is an ex­tremely im­por­tant en­dorse­ment of the Bri­tish work­force, and Bri­tish car mak­ing.’

Char­lie El­ph­icke, Con­ser­va­tive MP for Dover and Deal and a sup­porter of the Change Bri­tain cam­paign group, said: ‘The fact that this iconic car will be built in Bri­tain is a huge vote of con­fi­dence in the UK econ­omy and great news for Bri­tish jobs.

‘This is yet fur­ther ev­i­dence that Bri­tain re­mains an at­trac­tive place to in­vest, with com­pa­nies look­ing to de­velop the tech­nolo­gies of to­mor­row here in the UK to­day.’

David Buik, a vet­eran City com­men­ta­tor who works for stock­bro­ker Pan­mure Gor­don, said: ‘We’re the sec­ond largest car assem­bly coun­try in Europe for good rea­son. There is ab­so­lutely no need to move pro­duc­tion else­where as we have the in­no­va­tion, skills, driver and zest to take on all com­ers.’

BMW said that it was com­mit­ted to sell­ing 100,000 elec­tri­fied ve­hi­cles – hy­brids or elec­tric cars – this year, as many as it has sold in to­tal since pro­duc­tion started four years ago.

EV­ERY day brings new scare sto­ries about the dire ef­fects of Brexit — from a staffing cri­sis in the NHS to a short­age of take-away piz­zas. Yes­ter­day alone there were more than a half a dozen — rang­ing from many fewer bud­get air­line flights to in­creased costs of raw ma­te­ri­als for sausages. Here, ROSS CLARK sorts the truth from the myths... BREXIT WILL HIT CANCER PA­TIENTS

NI­COLA STRICK­LAND, pres­i­dent of the Royal Col­lege of Ra­di­ol­o­gists, says that leav­ing Eu­ratom — the Euro­pean Atomic En­ergy Com­mu­nity, which has shared re­search into nu­clear en­ergy since 1957 — could af­fect the trans­port of ra­dioac­tive ma­te­ri­als used in cancer treat­ment.

She said she was ‘se­ri­ously con­cerned’ about UK hospitals keep­ing con­tin­ued ac­cess to ma­te­rial used in scans and tests. ‘Re­stricted ac­cess has the po­ten­tial to de­lay di­ag­nos­ing and treat­ing cancer in thou­sands of pa­tients,’ she said.

Lon­don’s Evening Stan­dard, edited by EU-cheer­leader Ge­orge Os­borne, car­ried a front page head­line which read: CANCER PA­TIENTS IN BREXIT SCARE. RE­AL­ITY:

Steve Baker, min­is­ter in the De­part­ment for Ex­it­ing the EU, says the Gov­ern­ment’s le­gal ad­vice is that Eu­ratom reg­u­lates the dis­tri­bu­tion of fis­sile ma­te­rial used in nu­clear en­ergy, not ra­dioac­tive iso­topes used in cancer treat­ment. This was con­firmed by a pro­fes­sor of law on Ra­dio 4’s To­day.

Nor­way isn’t a mem­ber of the EU yet hospitals eas­ily ob­tain the re­sources they need.

Nor will leav­ing Eu­ratom end co- op­er­a­tion over nu­clear mat­ters: 16 non-EU coun­tries, in­clud­ing Turkey and Is­rael, have as­so­ciate mem­ber­ship of Hori­zon 2020, a pan-Euro­pean pro­gramme for co-or­di­nat­ing sci­en­tific re­search.


KAREN BETTS, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Scotch Whisky As­so­ci­a­tion, says 90 per cent of Scotch is ex­ported and so it re­lies on open mar­kets and free trade. While op­pos­ing the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment’s move to set a min­i­mum price for al­co­hol as part of a public health pol­icy, she said: ‘This risk to how we are able to trade in­ter­na­tion­ally is now com­pounded by the un­cer­tain­ties sur­round­ing Brexit.’ RE­AL­ITY:

Min­i­mum pric­ing is an ini­tia­tive by Ni­cola Stur­geon’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and has noth­ing to do with the EU. There is no rea­son to as­sume that Brexit will re­duce world de­mand for whisky ex­ports. In fact, 69 per cent of Scot­land’s £4 bil­lion a year whisky ex­ports go to coun­tries out­side the EU, with 26 per cent to the U.S. — with whom the Gov­ern­ment be­gan trade talks this week.


DANNY GROvES, of the char­ity Whale & Dol­phin Con­ser­va­tion, says thou­sands of dol­phins, por­poises and whales die in fish­ing gear ev­ery year in UK seas. ‘Most of the pro­tec­tion they have comes from the EU,’ he says, ‘but af­ter Brexit they won’t even have that. What then?’ RE­AL­ITY:

The EU has a poor record for pre­vent­ing dol­phins, por­poises and whales from be­ing caught in fish­ing nets. The Whale & Dol­phin Con­ser­va­tion’s own fig­ures show that in 2015, 1,200-1,500 por­poises and 240 com­mon dol­phins were trapped in nets.

To help, the Bri­tish have taken the ini­tia­tive. In 2004, our gov­ern­ment tried to re­duce these num­bers by ban­ning do­mes­tic ves­sels from us­ing a tech­nique known as ‘pelagic pair trawl­ing’ for sea bass within 12 miles of our coast.

It asked that the ban might be ex­tended to all EU fish­ing ves­sels — but Brus­sels re­fused.

Once we leave the EU, for­eign ves­sels can be banned from trawl­ing in Bri­tish wa­ters.


NEW Lib Dem leader vince Ca­ble claimed at the start of the Wim­ble­don ten­nis cham­pi­onships that ‘ peo­ple who nor­mally pro­duce the straw­ber­ries can’t do so be­cause the labour force has dis­ap­peared be­cause of anx­i­ety about their fu­ture sta­tus in Bri­tain’. RE­AL­ITY:

Of­fi­cials at Wim­ble­don de­nied any prob­lem and the Bri­tish soft fruit in­dus­try has never been health­ier. At the end of May, Bri­tish Sum­mer Fruits, the grow­ers’ trade body, pre­dicted that pro­duc­tion of soft fruit this year would be up 6 per cent on last year, when 126,000 tonnes, or £580 mil­lion-worth, of Bri­tish­grown fruit was sold. There is no rea­son why Brexit should make any dif­fer­ence.

Min­is­ters have in­di­cated that a sea­sonal agri­cul­tural work­ers’ scheme will help soft fruit­grow­ers hire who they want from out­side Europe. It would al­low tens of thou­sands of peo­ple to work here for less than six months.


AC­CORD­ING to the Health Foun­da­tion, an in­de­pen­dent char­ity, the num­ber of nurses reg­is­ter­ing to work in the NHS has plum­meted by 96 per cent since the Referendum, ex­ac­er­bat­ing a chronic short­age.

The Royal Col­lege of Pae­di­atrics And Child Health claims Brexit will hit the pro­fes­sion be­cause 40 per cent of staff be­gan their train­ing over­seas.

Yes­ter­day, un­der the front page head­line ‘BREXIT FEARS OF NHS STAFF CRI­SIS’, the Lon­don Evening Stan­dard re­ported the chief in­spec­tor of hospitals, Pro­fes­sor Sir Mike Richards, warn­ing of a Brexit ‘threat’ to cru­cial staffing in the NHS and in care homes. RE­AL­ITY:

Nurses from other EU coun­tries make up 4 per cent of the NHS nurs­ing work- force — a small, al­beit sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion. Twice as many NHS nurses come from non-EU coun­tries.

While there has been a big fall in the num­ber of nurses from fel­low EU coun­tries reg­is­ter­ing here over the past year, the peak month, when 1,304 reg­is­tered, was last July, af­ter the Referendum.

The head of a nurs­ing agency told the Nurs­ing Times that the fall had less to do with Brexit than with new English lan­guage tests which came into ef­fect last year. The agency saw no drop-off in ap­pli­ca­tions — sim­ply that many nurses were fail­ing the lan­guage test.

As for pae­di­a­tri­cians, our EU mem­ber­ship hasn’t pre­vented a grow­ing list of 200 un­filled va­can­cies. This is partly due to the fact the pro­fes­sion is very fe­male-dom­i­nated, and many have left to be­gin fam­i­lies.

Brexit won’t mean the NHS can­not re­cruit from abroad — only that it will be our gov­ern­ment, not Brus­sels, which will de­cide im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy.


PAUL CHESHIRE, Pro­fes­sor of Eco­nomic Ge­og­ra­phy at the LSE, says house prices could crash by 40 per cent. His col­league Chris­tian Hil­ber ex­plains: ‘If Brexit leads to a re­ces­sion and/ or slug­gish growth for ex­tended pe­ri­ods, then an ex­tended and se­vere down­turn is more likely than a short-lived and mild one.’ RE­AL­ITY:

De­spite grim pre­dic­tions be­fore the Brexit vote that house prices would plum­met (the Trea­sury fore­saw a crash of 18 per cent), house val­ues in the past 12 months have been broadly steady, ris­ing by 2.6 per cent, ac­cord­ing to the Hal­i­fax.

Of course, prices could fall in fu­ture, but it is hard to see why Brexit should cause a drop. More likely, any fall would be the re­sult of too many peo­ple over-bor­row­ing, as hap­pened in the early 1990s and again in 2008. There is also the fac­tor of in­creases in stamp duty and higher taxes on landlords in­tro­duced by then Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne.


AC­CORD­ING to ac­coun­tants KPMG, tar­iffs on goods im­ported from the EU postBrexit could add 12 per cent to the cost of in­gre­di­ents of a full English break­fast, with a litre of or­ange juice im­ported from

Spain ris­ing by 34 per cent (from 79p to 93p) and a 300g pack of Dan­ish ba­con go­ing up from £2 to £2.18. This would mean the cost of break­fast for a typ­i­cal fam­ily could rise £3 to £26.61.

Mean­while, the Food And Drink Fed­er­a­tion says the £28 bil­lion Bri­tish food and drinks sec­tor would take a ma­jor hit from the in­tro­duc­tion of trade tar­iffs. For­mer Sains­bury’s boss Justin King warned shop­pers that they’ll see ‘prices, qual­ity and choice’ im­pacted by the Brexit vote.


Ig­nor­ing, for a mo­ment, that a tra­di­tional ‘Full English’ does not in­clude Dan­ish ba­con or Span­ish or­ange juice, the claim is based on the as­sump­tion that Bri­tain will leave the EU with­out a trade deal and that food im­porters will have to pay tar­iffs on goods bought from other EU coun­tries.

In truth, there is ev­ery like­li­hood that Bri­tain will ne­go­ti­ate a trade deal with the EU — given that it will be to the mu­tual ben­e­fit of Bri­tain and the 27 EU coun­tries.

In any case, all the in­gre­di­ents of a full English break­fast, ex­cept baked beans, are grown in the UK.

Cru­cially, once we leave the EU we won’t have to charge the high tar­iffs that Brus­sels forces us to charge on food im­ports from out­side the EU — which means that food prices are more likely to fall.


YES­TEr­DAY, the Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics (ONS) re­ported that food man­u­fac­tur­ers have re­duced the size (but not the price) of a host of prod­ucts — a phe­nom­e­non de­scribed as ‘shrink­fla­tion’.

Items in­clude Dori­tos, Peperami and Coco Pops. Toblerone bars are 10 per cent smaller and M&M pack­ets have also re­duced in size.

In many cases, man­u­fac­tur­ers have blamed the Brexit-linked slump in ster­ling for in­creas­ing the price of im­ported in­gre­di­ents — and they have there­fore looked for ways to re­cover their ex­tra costs.


Shrink­fla­tion has been go­ing on for years. The ONS recorded 2,529 ex­am­ples over the past five years. If any­thing, Brexit should re­duce the cost of prod­ucts such as choco­late in the UK. At pre­sent, pro­cessed choco­late from out­side the EU is sub­ject to high tar­iffs — which we can axe once we leave the EU.


AC­COrD­INg to David Nuss­baum, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Bri­tish arm of the World Wildlife Fund, and to the royal So­ci­ety For The Pro­tec­tion Of Birds, ‘leav­ing the EU would bring great un­cer­tain­ties, putting much of what has been achieved at risk’ in terms of con­ser­va­tion.

But­ter­fly and bee pro­tec­tion groups, too, worry that they can­not do their work as well with­out the ben­e­fits of EU schemes.


Un­der­stand­ably, these or­gan­i­sa­tions stress that the EU has played a key role for decades in set­ting com­mon stan­dards across a wide range of en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, from pol­lu­tion con­trol to habi­tat pro­tec­tion.

Yet, the fact is that Bri­tain has of­ten led the way in pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. The WWF, for ex­am­ple, was founded in 1961 by two Bri­tons — evo­lu­tion­ary bi­ol­o­gist Sir Ju­lian Hux­ley and Ed­ward Max Ni­chol­son.

Peo­ple may be di­vided over Brexit, but the Bri­tish are united by a love of wildlife, thus there re­mains a strong con­sen­sus that en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards must be main­tained. Cru­cially, En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Michael gove says he has ‘no in­ten­tion’ of weak­en­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions in­sti­tuted by the EU, and he be­lieves Bri­tain is ‘more than ca­pa­ble’ of mak­ing its own en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion laws.


AC­COrD­INg to Sa­muel Stone, head of fish­eries and agri­cul­ture at the Ma­rine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety, leav­ing the EU could lead to a re­ver­sal of suc­cess­ful ef­forts over the past few years to pro­mote the re­cov­ery of cod stocks.

‘Ex­it­ing may end up with in­ter­na­tional dis­putes and fish be­ing over­fished as a re­sult,’ he says.


EU rules are to blame for North Sea cod stocks be­ing brought to the point of col­lapse in the first place. In 1972, when Ed­ward Heath signed away fish stocks in Bri­tish wa­ters as a ‘com­mon re­source’ for Euro­pean fish­er­men, cod hauls peaked at 270,000 tonnes a year. By 2006, they had fallen to 44,000 tonnes.

Over the past decade, they’ve bounced back to 149,000 tonnes, largely thanks to prac­tices adopted by Bri­tish fish­er­men, in­clud­ing the use of fish­ing gear that does not catch im­ma­ture cod and the clo­sure of ar­eas of sea in the spawn- ing sea­son. Af­ter Brexit, we’ll be able to ban for­eign trawlers from UK wa­ters — thereby tak­ing pres­sure off fish stocks.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, the re­spected en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Charles Clover, of the Blue Ma­rine Foun­da­tion, says the ‘as­tound­ing re­cov­ery’ of North Sea cod ‘was not a vic­tory for the EU’. He says: ‘We should thank a Bri­tish ini­tia­tive that went be­yond the EU’s flawed re­cov­ery plan.’


ONE-THIrD of Ched­dar con­sumed in Bri­tain comes from Ire­land, where, ac­cord­ing to Conor Mul­vi­hill, of the Ir­ish Dairy In­dus­tries As­so­ci­a­tion, cheese-mak­ers are con­sid­er­ing switch­ing to Moz­zarella as they fear tar­iffs be­ing im­posed on ex­ports to Bri­tain.


This scare story, like so many oth­ers, pre­sumes that Bri­tain will make a messy exit from the EU, herald­ing a trade war — yet ne­go­tia­tors on both sides have ev­ery in­cen­tive to do a trade deal.

But if Ir­ish cheese-mak­ers de­cide to stop mak­ing Ched­dar, Bri­tish cheese-mak­ers would quickly fill the gap. Also, we would buy more from Aus­tralia and New Zealand, whose food im­ports are cur­rently sub­ject to tar­iffs — which most likely will be re­duced af­ter Brexit.


AC­COrD­INg to Chris Keates, of the teach­ers union NASUWT: ‘Im­mi­gra­tion, bor­der con­trol and re­strict­ing free­dom of move­ment have se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for public ser­vices, in­clud­ing schools and col­leges.’ Also, she says any loss of work­ers’ rights could lead to fewer peo­ple en­ter­ing the pro­fes­sion.


There is no rea­son to say that leav­ing the EU will stop teach­ers be­ing re­cruited from over­seas. It sim­ply means that im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy is made in White­hall rather than Brus­sels.


DAvID PAgE, chair­man of the par­ent com­pany of pizza chain Franco Manca, has warned that Brexit ‘is al­ready af­fect­ing the avail­abil­ity of skilled Euro­pean restau­rant staff’. The referendum re­sult hit Ital­ian and greek chefs ‘hard emo­tion­ally’, he said, mak­ing them more dif­fi­cult to re­cruit.

If hir­ing be­comes more costly, then the price of piz­zas could in­crease, he added.

The Bri­tish Take­away Cam­paign, a trade group funded by Just Eat, the on­line fast food or­der and de­liv­ery ser­vice, warns that onethird of take­away own­ers fear it could be harder to re­cruit staff.


given that our High Streets have a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of fast-food out­lets —Franco Manca it­self opened 33 in

the past year — it is hardly sur­pris­ingly that the chain has re­alised the sup­ply of skilled pizza-mak­ers is not in­fi­nite. But how dif­fi­cult can it be to train some­one to pre­pare fast food?

All work­ers al­ready here from Italy and Greece will be al­lowed to stay un­der a deal al­ready of­fered by Mrs May. More­over, af­ter Brexit, we will be in full con­trol of im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, so if there are staff short­ages in some in­dus­tries, the Gov­ern­ment can is­sue work per­mits to for­eign­ers as nec­es­sary.


RyANAIR says it might move its 90 air­craft based here should Bri­tain no longer be part of the Open Skies Agree­ment, which pro­motes travel and re­duces gov­ern­ment in­ter­fer­ence.

The air­line says that if there is no cer­tainty over such is­sues by au­tumn next year, it ‘may be forced to can­cel flights and move some, or all, of our UK-based air­craft to con­ti­nen­tal Europe from April 2019 on­wards’.


Planes are cur­rently flown from EU coun­tries to non- EU coun­tries, so the idea that flights be­tween Bri­tain and the EU will cease is scare­mon­ger­ing. Ryanair’s threat is a bold one con­sid­er­ing that 40mil­lion out of its 131mil­lion cus­tomers a year make a jour­ney that ei­ther takes off or lands at a UK air­port.


A RE­PORT by Tim Lang, Pro­fes­sor of Food Pol­icy at City Univer­sity, and other aca­demics ar­gues that leav­ing the Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy (CAP) will lead to food prices be­com­ing as volatile as they were in the 1930s, and a fall in safety stan­dards.


The CAP was de­signed for the in­ter­ests of the farm­ing lobby — es­pe­cially in France — not for con­sumers, and has meant that food prices have been kept higher than they need to be.

When we leave the Euro­pean Union, we can also lower tar­iffs on food im­ported from out­side the EU, so UK con­sumers can have cheaper food.

As for food safety, cur­rent EU law will be in­cor­po­rated into UK law post-Brexit, so there will be no drop in stan­dards.

Don’t worry: From ra­dioac­tive iso­topes to straw­ber­ries, the things Brexit won’t hit

Up­beat: Min­is­ter Greg Clark

Go­ing for a spin: The BMW Mini fac­tory in Ox­ford

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