UK manufacturers warn of "catastrophic" no-deal Brexit
By David Milliken
LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Britain faces the "catastrophic
prospect" of a no-deal Brexit next month due to the selfishness
of some politicians and chaotic parliamentary proceedings, the
head of the country's main manufacturing association said on
The strong warning from Make UK, previously known as the
EEF, comes as Japanese carmaker Honda is expected to say it is
preparing to shut its main UK plant with a loss of 3,500 jobs.
Nissan earlier this month cancelled plans to build its
X-Trail sport utility vehicle in Britain, mostly blaming
"business reasons" but also citing Brexit uncertainty.
"Let me be clear ... for those hard Brexiteers who accuse us
of scaremongering. This is very real and very serious," Make
UK's chair, Judith Hackitt, said in remarks ahead of the group's
Finance minister Philip Hammond and business minister Greg
Clark - who are on the pro-European wing of Prime Minister
Theresa May's Conservative Party - as well as opposition Labour
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, are due to address the conference.
Corbyn intends to call again for May to back his proposal
for a permanent customs union with the European Union and full
guarantees for existing worker and consumer rights. He plans to
meet chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier this week.
Britain's parliament overwhelmingly rejected the transition
deal that May negotiated with the EU and time is running out to
avoid a disruptive no-deal Brexit on March 29 which would lead
to the re-imposition of customs checks on British exports.
"Some of our politicians have put selfish political ideology
ahead of the national interest and people's livelihoods and left
us facing the catastrophic prospect of leaving the EU next month
with no deal," Hackitt said.
British manufacturers are facing a global slowdown as well
as Brexit uncertainty. Official data last week showed their
output fell by the most in over five years in the final quarter
Some 49 percent of 429 manufacturers surveyed for Make UK
said a no-deal Brexit would make Britain unattractive, compared
with 28 percent who said Britain would still be an attractive
location, with bigger companies more likely to express concerns.
Twenty-three percent of manufacturers said they had started
stockpiling raw materials ahead of Brexit, when they were
surveyed by polling firm YouGov between Jan. 28 and Feb. 5, and
another 24 percent said they were considering doing so.
More than half of manufacturers who had started stockpiling
said it was proving a financial strain.
(Reporting by David Milliken
Editing by William Schomberg)
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