“Brexit effect real” after falls in automotive production and investment

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturing and Trading (SMMT) show declines in both production and investment in the UK’s automotive sector.

Reacting to the news that 14 per cent fewer vehicles were produced this year compared to the same period in 2016, Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Tony Burke said: “The Brexit effect is now real and is biting into an important UK manufacturing sector, our world-class car industry.

“Government must hear the alarm bells ringing and take action.

“Not only are consumers shying away from buying cars because of the massive economic uncertainty we are in, the industry is also putting a brake on investment until they hear from government that our existing friction-free trading arrangements will be secure once we are out of the European Union.

“The auto sector, in common with our other superb high-tech industries, is built on a complex supply chain. Any interruption to that and jobs and skills are at threat.

“So we urge the government to give our industry and this workforce a chance. Stop ruling out single market access and a customs union because this is destroying investor confidence.

“Get behind UK workers and provide our world class auto sector with the security and certainty they need to stay world-beating.”

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “While domestic demand eased following years of significant growth, these figures demonstrate the importance of exports to commercial vehicle manufacturing.

“With such high levels destined for overseas markets, the vast majority going to Europe, maintaining competitive trading conditions with our most significant partner will be vital in order to future-proof the success of the sector.”