Today’s announcement from car maker Honda that it is to close its Swindon plant by 2022 has been greeted with shock & dismay, not least from the people that work there. The company has suggested the decision has nothing to do with Brexit & cites ‘global challenges’ in the form of vehicle electrification & autonomous vehicles. What wasn’t mentioned was the recent agreement between the EEU & Japan to abolish tariffs between the two trading blocks negating the very existence of the Swindon plant. The Japanese car makers were attracted to the UK in the Thatcher era by a combination of Government grants & the ability to ship into Europe tariff free.
Any talk of betrayal is absolute nonsense. Japanese car makers like Honda, Nissan & Toyota have contributed billions to the UK economy over the last decades not to mention the taxes paid to the U.K government by companies & workers.
Most people do not understand the complexity of automotive supply chains and how thousands of components for each car cross borders many times before they are used at their final destination. Any tariffs at the border will increase product costs & introduce unnecessary delays.
What we have to ask ourselves is this – Does Brexit make it easier or more difficult for companies to invest in the UK ?