While 'Project Fear' runs rampant through the British media - regurgitating government-sanctioned propaganda to the masses to put pressure on hardline Brexiteers - the head of the country’s main manufacturing association said on Tuesday that Britain faces the “catastrophic prospect” of a no-deal Brexit next month due to the selfishness of some politicians and chaotic parliamentary proceedings.
As Reuters reports, the strong warning from Make UK, previously known as the EEF, comes as Japanese carmaker Honda is expected to say it is preparing to shut its main UK plant with a loss of 3,500 jobs.
Nissan earlier this month canceled plans to build its X-Trail sport utility vehicle in Britain, mostly blaming “business reasons” but also citing Brexit uncertainty.
Make UK’s chair, Judith Hackitt, said in remarks ahead of the group’s annual conference...
“Let me be clear ... for those hard Brexiteers who accuse us of scaremongering. This is very real and very serious,”
“The clock has almost run down and it is now essential that the pantomime in parliament ends."
Britain’s parliament overwhelmingly rejected the transition deal that May negotiated with the EU and time is running out to avoid a disruptive no-deal Brexit on March 29 which would lead to the re-imposition of customs checks on British exports.
“Some of our politicians have put selfish political ideology ahead of the national interest and people’s livelihoods and left us facing the catastrophic prospect of leaving the EU next month with no deal,” Hackitt said.
British manufacturers are facing a global slowdown as well as Brexit uncertainty. Official data last week showed their output fell by the most in over five years in the final quarter of 2018.
“It’s a big shock,” said David Bailey, a professor of industrial strategy at Aston University.
“But it’s not a surprise. Many of us have been warning for several years of the risks to UK automotive over Brexit, that we needed to nail down the uncertainty as soon as possible.”
As The FT reports, Ford said last week it had repeatedly urged the government not to leave the EU without a deal, in response to reports it had warned Theresa May it could move production overseas.
“Such a situation would be catastrophic for the UK auto industry and Ford’s manufacturing operations in the country,” the carmaker said, adding it would take “whatever action is necessary to preserve the competitiveness of our European business”.
Some 49 percent of 429 manufacturers surveyed for Make UK said a no-deal Brexit would make Britain unattractive, compared with 28 percent who said Britain would still be an attractive location, with bigger companies more likely to express concerns.