This month has been alarming for Welsh workers, to say the least, with three big manufacturers warning they may need to move production due to Brexit.
Airbus has warned it fears future customs and paperwork delays will make UK plants uncompetitive, Vauxhall says it may need to stop production until the Brexit terms are clear and Ford has warned that any sort of border restrictions or customs friction would be an inhibitor to them continuing to conduct business here.
These are big employers in Wales. Airbus Broughton employs over 6,500 people, the Ford factory in Bridgend employs close to 2000 and many people travel over to the Vauxhall factory in Cheshire for work. And, it is not just these jobs that would be affected. When you take 6,500 people’s salaries out of a community every single shop and service in the area will see less business. From the truck drivers who transport goods, to local supermarkets, cafes and hairdressers.
Manufacturing is just one of many sectors that is concerned about the lack of a clear UK government Brexit plan and a post Brexit world in which we will be worse off. Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary says if there is no Brexit deal by September (including replacements for EU airline agreements) he will be forced to cancel flights after March 2019 because flight schedules are planned six months in advance. He also warned that post Brexit, there will be no cheap flights to popular EU holiday destinations like Portugal, Spain or Italy.
The Leave campaign told voters they could reap the benefits of EU membership without respecting any of the rules and obligations. But the reality is becoming clearer as time passes. The pound has collapsed increasing inflation, the UK has gone from being the fastest growing to the slowest growing economy in Europe and we stand to lose jobs in and around our manufacturing bases.
This is hard evidence that at the very least we need to remain part of the Customs Union and Single Market. Nobody voted to be worse off and politicians need to be honest about what is at stake and what is achievable.
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