EEF responds to latest Brexit parliamentary votes: UK manufacturing in despair

30 January 2019

UK EU Parliament

Responding to yesterday's parliamentary votes on Brexit, including the Brady & Spelman/Dromey amendments,  Stephen Phipson, CEO of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation said:

“EEF thanks Parliament for having the courage to stand up for UK manufacturing and say a firm no to 'no deal'. We now call on the Prime Minister to uphold that position and confirm that she will not allow us to slide over the 'no deal' cliff.

“EEF has consistently opposed no deal. That is why we supported the Prime Minister’s deal. Not because it was perfect, but because it kept on the table the outcomes our sector needs – frictionless trade, zero tariffs, regulatory alignment with the EU and a sensible transition.

“However, today’s wider events in Parliament leave manufacturing businesses in despair. Much of our global trade is facilitated by EU agreements. Companies will imminently have to make decisions about whether to load cargo onto ships that will not arrive at their destination until after the 29 March. They have no idea what tariffs they will have to pay when they dock. Companies within EU supply chains have no idea if they can honour their just-in-time delivery contractual commitments as it is unclear if they will need to clear customs in 2 months’ time. This is a ridiculous position for one of the world’s biggest economies – and the nation that perfected global trade.

“This Brexit logjam is already blocking investment. We can already see jobs being taken away from the UK. It must stop now – this is a real crisis and not ‘project fear’. Businesses cannot believe that these real problems are consistently dismissed by politicians, who are ignoring economic reality and the hardship that will be faced when people lose their livelihoods.

“The Prime Minister needs to lead Parliament to reach an agreement which will allow manufacturers to get back to business. If Parliament’s agreement to the Brady amendment delivers the outcomes business needs, then we will welcome it with open arms. However, we must move as quickly as possible in subsequent discussions with the EU. Should this path prove fruitless, we must not waste incredibly valuable time and instead focus on ensuring that we avoid a 'no deal' departure.”

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