Airbus warns a Brexit 'no-deal' could see them pull out of the UK

Friday, June 22, 2018

A warning from aerospace firm Airbus that it could pull out of the UK with the loss of thousands of jobs in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit should serve as a "wake-up" call, politicians have said.

The company, which employs 14,000 people at 25 sites across the country, said it would "reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country" if Britain crashed out of the single market and customs union without a transition agreement.

Read more: The customs union is a key part of Brexit – but what is it?

Publishing a Brexit "risk assessment" on its website, the firm also called on the Government to extend the planned transition period due to run until December 2020 if a deal is agreed, saying it was too short for the business to reorganise its supply chain.

If there was no extension it would "carefully monitor any new investments in the UK and refrain from extending the UK suppliers/partners base", it said.

Labour MP Darren Jones, whose Bristol North West constituency contains Airbus's Filton wing plant, attacked the Government for only listening to "hardline pro-Brexit MPs and not to the businesses that employ thousands of British workers, including Airbus".

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer hit out on Twitter, saying: "If proof was needed that the PM's Brexit red lines need to be abandoned (and fast), this is it."

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Stephen Crabb described the news as a "wake-up call".

The former Secretary of State for Wales, who represents Preseli Pembrokeshire, said: "The enormous Airbus factory in North Wales is one of the jewels in the crown of UK manufacturing. This is a wake-up call. A pragmatic, sensible Brexit that protects trade & jobs is vital."

Tom Williams, the chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, said Brexit would have "severe negative consequences for the UK aerospace industry and Airbus in particular" in any scenario.

He added: "Therefore, immediate mitigation measures would need to be accelerated.

"While Airbus understands that the political process must go on, as a responsible business we require immediate details on the pragmatic steps that should be taken to operate competitively.

"Without these, Airbus believes that the impacts on our UK operations could be significant.

"We have sought to highlight our concerns over the past 12 months, without success.

"Far from Project Fear, this is a dawning reality for Airbus.

"Put simply, a no-deal scenario directly threatens Airbus' future in the UK."

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