On Thursday 29 June 2017 Madeleine Moon MP voted to support Amendment G to the Queen’s Speech. Among other proposals it called for the Government “not rule out withdrawal from the EU without a deal, guarantee a Parliamentary vote on any final outcome to negotiations, set out transitional arrangements to maintain jobs, trade and certainty for business”, and crucially, to “set out proposals to remain within the Customs Union and Single Market”.
Madeleine said: My position on this is no secret, I believe that remaining in the Customs Union and the Single Market is vital for Bridgend and the UK in order to protect jobs, maintain competitiveness and attract future investments, particularly for companies like Ford and others in the automotive sector.
The Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT) have made it crystal clear that retaining the benefits of the Single Market and tariff and customs free trade with the EU is imperative for the automotive industry. It is a highly integrated global industry with vehicles and parts crossing European borders many many times during the assembly process. The SMMT said that reverting to World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs and customs checks at UK borders would significantly increase costs and impact competiveness. They found that a 10% tariff on finished vehicles because of WTO rules could cost the industry £4.5 billion which would inevitably increase costs for consumers. It has also been estimated that the list price of cars imported to the UK from the EU could increase by an average of £1500.
Not only this, jobs could be at risk. This is not scaremongering, it’s a very plausible outcome when we think about it. If we leave the EU with no deal, we automatically resort to WTO rules, which equals tariffs. Tariffs then mean the cost of production increases. Economically, it would make sense for some manufacturers to leave the UK if 10% WTO tariffs are introduced. The PA Consulting Group found that the increased cost of exporting 200,000 cars a year from the UK would be £920m after two years. This could easily cover the cost of building a new plant in an EU Member State which has access to the single market and customs union. We must absolutely avoid this scenario and I feel the amendment offered a path to mitigate such risks.
It is without doubt that the imposition of tariffs by losing access to the Single Market and Customs Union puts our businesses in Bridgend such as Ford at a significant disadvantage. I have always stood up for what is in the best interests for the constituency and if there is ever a chance to protect Bridgend from the damaging impact of Brexit, I will always put the constituency first.