UK politics – LIVE: British businesses will be ‘better off’ outside EU as Jaguar Land Rover issues Brexit warning, claims Tory Eurosceptic

Brexiteers have claimed that that big businesses will be “better off” outside the EU amid warnings from car giant Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) that a hard exit from the EU would cast doubt on its future in the UK.

The country’s biggest car maker said it could be hit with £1.2bn in trade tariffs if the UK leaves the customs union, and warned that it needs “greater certainty” to continue to invest and support more than 40,000 British jobs.

The warning follows similar statements from Airbus and BMW, and comes ahead of a crunch cabinet meeting on Friday, where Theresa May must unite her warring ministers to finalise a Brexit approach.

Owen Paterson, a former Conservative minister, told the Today programme: “What is really vital is they will be better off if the government delivers on what the prime minister promised me in the Commons yesterday.

“If we do leave the customs union, JLR will have access to cheaper parts and components all around the world and European suppliers will be forced to compete or they will lose JLR’s business.

“All the studies show that the car trade is very robust at the moment, it’s very profitable and that will continue.”

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Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said: “Tens of thousands of decent jobs – the sort we will need more than ever outwith the EU – are being put at risk by a Government that places its survival, indulging narrow, extremist views, above the well-being of the people of this country. This is simply not acceptable.

“So I say this to the Tory party, our jobs are not yours to play Russian roulette with. Drop your red lines and secure a decent deal, one that is to the benefit of the working people of this country.

“And if you cannot agree to put people before your ideology then move over and let a party that will get on with it.”

Tory former minister and eurosceptic Owen Paterson has offered a bullish defence in the wake of JLR’s warnings.

 

He told the Today programme: “What is really vital is they will be better off if the government delivers on what the prime minister promised me in the Commons yesterday.
“If we do leave the customs union, JLR will have access to cheaper parts and components all around the world and European suppliers will be forced to compete or they will lose JLR’s business.
“All the studies show that the car trade is very robust at the moment, it’s very profitable and that will continue.”

Car giant Jaguar Land Rover has warned it urgently needs “greater certainty” on Brexit to continue to invest heavily in the UK and safeguard suppliers, customers and 40,000 British-based jobs.

The warning from the country’s biggest carmaker follows similar statements from BMW and Airbus – and comes ahead of a crucial meeting of the Cabinet in Friday to finalise a White Paper on Brexit.

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