“BREXIT-deals must recognise the needs of the car industry.”
Those are the words of Meriden MP, Caroline Spelman, who is arguing one of the Midlands’ largest employers – the automotive manufacturing industry – must be protected in post-EU referendum negotiations.
During urgent questions to former Prime Minister David Cameron, Ms Spelman spoke up on behalf of local car manufacturers, including Jaguar Land Rover.
She argued: “Reciprocity between the UK and EU is the absolute key to protecting the hundreds and thousands of jobs that depend on our access to the single market.”
In his response, David Cameron recognised the growth of the Midlands’ automotive industry and urged anyone who did not believe a ‘manufacturing renaissance’ was happening in Britain to visit the JLR plant in Solihull.
He explained: “Seven or eight years ago there were 4,000 people there; there are now 14,000.
“It is not just manufacture and assembly, it is design and R&D and it is taking on hundreds of apprentices every year.”
“It is a magnificent car plant and we want to see more of them.
“It is absolutely crucial for companies that we keep the European market open, and it is crucial that they keep investing in our country rather than investing in countries inside the European Union.”
Speaking after the debate Mrs Spelman said that while the UK’s car manufacturing industry has been growing steadily over the last few years, it would be wrong to ignore several car manufacturer’s warnings of a ‘potentially negative long term impact’ in the companies post-Brexit.
She added: “While there will be no changes to the way the UK trades with Europe in the foreseeable future, it is important that we do all we can to safeguard local jobs and reassure companies like Jaguar Land Rover, that Britain remains open for business as usual.”