Sajid Javid’s refusal to align the UK with EU trading rules could be the final nail in the coffin for many already struggling automotive, aerospace and food and drink manufacturers, as well as firms in their extended supply chains that support them, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s biggest union, has warned.

Commenting on the chancellor’s ruling out of staying close to the EU after Brexit, Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said:

“With manufacturing already struggling against the continuing uncertainties of a no deal Brexit, global corporations with options for investment in European plants will view the government’s opposition to future UK-EU regulatory convergence with dismay.

“Product certification and rules of origin are key. Unless we continue our alignment with the EU on this, UK manufacturers will fall foul of global rules for the export of high value components like engines, wings and power-trains to European assembly plants, as well as the export of finished products.

“Rules of origin require a high proportion of components in any product to be produced locally to benefit from global tariff and customs arrangements. This double whammy for UK Plc demonstrates just how out of touch with manufacturing the government is.

“It’s never been clearer that this government of City spivs simply don’t understand or care about manufacturing. Sajid Javid talks about there being winners and losers from a hard Brexit with no alignment to the EU. But there will be no winners unless he wakes up and understands why product certification, rules of origin and frictionless, tariff-free trade matter.

“Javid’s statement needs urgent clarification from the secretary of state for business, Andrea Leadsom, before all confidence drains away. The government’s position is grossly negligent and will undoubtedly be the final nail in the coffin for many already struggling within UK manufacturing.”


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