SOLIHULL’S MPs have spoken out about the latest cutbacks at Jaguar Land Rover’s Lode Lane factory.
Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman has also claimed company chiefs have urged regional politicians to support prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
The car manufacturer announced yesterday that hundreds more jobs will be cut when production of the Discovery model moves to Slovakia in the new year.
At least 200 temporary agency staff will lose their jobs while some permanent workers will be offered voluntary redundancy.
JLR has said the switch will enable for long-term investment in green technology in Solihull. It includes development of the ‘next generation’ Range Rover at Lode Lane, as the company continues to invest in electric models.
But MPs are concerned after a series of JLR cutbacks, and public statements from the company about harm from deisel taxation and a potential ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Solihull MP Julian Knight and Dame Caroline have been lobbying the government to ensure a smooth transition to green forms of energy, one which protects jobs.
They have also been seeking to ensure the regional car industry and its concerns are being considered in Brexit negotiations.
Dame Caroline Spelman said: “I want to commiserate with the workers and their families.
“It is very unfortunate that this announcement comes so close to Christmas.
“The uncertainty around Brexit is, of course, a significant concern for car-makers who have told us that no deal would cost them £4.5billion in tariffs.
“JLR are encouraging MPs of all parties to support the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration to protect jobs and livelihoods.
“In addition to Brexit, JLR are badly affected by the diesel ban which will take effect from 2040 as people hang onto their older diesel vehicles rather than trade them in for the new generation of cleaner diesel cars.
“In fact, the new EU6 standard diesels are no more polluting that petrol engines and they offer the advantage of more miles per gallon which helps to tackle climate change.
“In the recent budget, the Chancellor did recognise this in revising Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates but more will need to be done to restore consumer confidence.
“The automotive industry is working hard to produce cleaner engines on its trajectory to move towards electric vehicles.
“The car industry needs to be supported in its transition to low emission vehicles.
“The contribution that clean, modern diesel and petrol technology can play in cleaning up our region’s air quality and combatting global warming must be recognised.”
Jaguar Land Rover in June announced the production switch to a new factory in Nitra, Slovakia, which opened at the end of last month.
The switch will enable the development of the ‘next generation’ Range Rover at the Lode Lane plant, as the company continues to invest in electric technology.
Mr Knight said: “This is the latest in a series of worrying job announcements that we have heard from Jaguar Land Rover.
“Our local company is clearly being battered by a whole host of issues such as the decline of diesel car sales, fall in demand for global exports as well as economic uncertainty at home.
“I met yesterday with executives from Jaguar Land Rover to discuss the issues the company is facing, and reassured them of my ongoing support.
“I would also like to reiterate that my door is always open to any constituents who may have been affected.”