Toyota, who’s Deeside engine plant employs hundreds of workers, has warned that Brexit uncertainty will jeopardise UK car production.
Talks have become bogged down in recent weeks, EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has stressed making urgent progress in the next round of Brexit talks
Concerns about Toyota’s future in the UK has spurred a Plaid Cymru AM to raise the matter with government ministers.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru AM for North Wales, says reports coming from the Frankfurt car show a top Toyota executive warning the UK Government about facing tariffs and other barriers after 2019.
Didier Leroy, the executive vice president of Toyota, broke the bad news to the British government in an interview this week with Reuters at the Frankfurt car show: “A few months ago, the UK government was saying ‘We’re sure we’ll be able to negotiate [a deal] without any trade tax’,” he said. “They are not saying that any more.”
“It is clear that if we have to wait two to three more years to have clarity on this topic, we will have a big question mark about our future investment in the country.”
Mr Gruffydd said this was a very uncertain time for workers in the export industry:
“After receiving written reassurances from the British government earlier this year, Toyota announced a €265 million plan to upgrade its Burnaston plant, in Derbyshire, for the production of new models.”
The statements coming from the Frankfurt car show suggest that proposal may now be in jeopardy. The Deeside site is dependent on the Burnaston site.
“The UK leaving the European single market is becoming a clear disadvantage for an export-driven economy such as Wales. I’m very concerned that Toyota’s plant on Deeside remains an integral part of the local economy.
UK Government ministers seem to be too busy playing politics in the Westminster bubble to worry about workers and local communities’ prosperity.
I’ll be raising the matter with Welsh and UK ministers because it’s vital we retain high-skilled jobs in this part of Wales.”
More than 100 UK firms including two Deeside based organisations have written to Brexit Minister David Davis and EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, underlining the importance of making urgent progress in the next round of Brexit talks.