BMW joins Airbus to warn Brexit could cost thousands of jobs

BMW joins Airbus to warn Brexit could cost thousands of jobs
BMW joins Airbus to warn Brexit could cost thousands of jobs

BMW joined Airbus in warning over the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

The company makes the Mini and Rolls Royce and employs about 8,000 people in the UK.

Ian Robertson, special representative of the BMW Group in the UK, told the BBC: “If we don’t get clarity in the next couple of months we have to start making those contingency plans – which means investing money in systems that we might not need, in warehouses that might not be usable… effectively making the UK automotive industry less competitive than it is in a very competitive world right now. That is a decisive issue that ultimately could damage this industry.”

Aviation questions

Other aviation groups confirmed their commitment last night to maintaining their level of UK investment after Airbus said it could abandon the country ­– although some repeated their desire for Brexit negotiations to end with minimal disruption to trading arrangements.

Boeing, which has more than 2,200 UK staff, said it has a “long-standing relationship with the UK, with its Armed Forces and its air transport industry, dating back to the 1930s”.

BMW on Brexit policy: That is a decisive issue that ultimately could damage this industry

The company said it had doubled its direct employment in the UK since 2011 and hired, on average, one employee a day in 2015 and 2016.

“The UK remains critically important for Boeing, as a base for operations supporting airline and defence customers, as well as a source of innovative suppliers and technology partners alongside sales opportunities,” the firm said.

Multinationals cautious

The UK-based Rolls-Royce Group, the world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines, said it “remains committed” to the UK.

The uncertainty [about] the final outcome means that we cannot say exactly what it [Brexit] means for Nestlé

Nestlé spokesperson

“Across all our operations, we are working to ensure there is no interruption to our service to customers as a result of Brexit.

“We are working closely with the UK Government and relevant trade bodies to ensure they are aware of our priorities in regard to Brexit,” the company said.

“We would prefer an outcome that is as close to the status quo as possible, and believe that this is also the view of the wider aerospace industry.”

Large multinationals were more guarded. A spokesman for Nestlé UK & Ireland, which employs 8,000 people across 20 sites, said: “The uncertainty [about] the final outcome means that we cannot say exactly what it [Brexit] means for Nestlé.”

Downing Street denial

Cabinet divisions: David Davis, Boris Johnson and Theresa May
David Davis, Boris Johnson and Theresa May

Downing Street denied that ministers had ignored concerns raised by Airbus and BMW about Brexit and said there was an ongoing dialogue.

There is an open dialogue there and we continue to talk to them.”

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