Video: David Drew MP in parliament "Honda closure will affect too many families"

Video: David Drew MP in parliament "Honda closure will affect too many families"

“The closure of Honda’s Swindon plant is a disaster that will affect too many families.

Manufacturing and engineering have long been the backbone of our economy and heritage. Yet our manufacturing sector now seems frighteningly vulnerable.

Here in Stonehouse, almost 200 jobs are at risk after SKF announced plans to move the manufacture of its bearings from the factory at Oldends Lane to other plants in Italy and France.

With 3,500 Honda jobs also to be lost, we are seeing further erosion of our manufacturing base and more key employers moving abroad. 

The reasons are complex and include changes in the global manufacturing market. But the backdrop of Brexit, with the government’s shambolic lack of progress or vision, has exacerbated the challenges businesses face - and the vulnerability of our manufacturing sector to global change.

Fears that the UK is no longer a stable, reliable trading partner will have played a part. Cars are sitting in docks awaiting export with no clarity about what tariffs will apply in less than five weeks’ time. Businesses invest for the long term and this decision indicates how they now view the UK.

The Brexit chaos is an ongoing diversion, with little government focus on protecting the livelihood of thousands of families and no leadership to support businesses.

The 3,500-strong workforce have skilled, well-paid jobs that the UK can ill-afford to lose. It is a tragic irony that the loss of such jobs over the years, and the devastation wrought on once thriving regions and towns, played a part in the Brexit vote.

Unite is right to describe this as a “shattering body-blow at the heart of UK manufacturing.”

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