Ellesmere Port MP Justin Madders (Lab) has again been standing up for the future of the town’s Vauxhall workforce in the House of Commons.
Mr Madders pressed the Government to secure a Brexit deal for car manufacturers in the UK.
He sought clarity from Brexit minister Steve Baker (Con) on the future trading arrangements for the country’s automotive industry.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Madders drew attention to a statement from Vauxhall’s French parent company PSA that is not prepared to make any long-term investment decisions until there is certainty about the final arrangements.
His comments came after leaked Government reports are said to have suggested that car manufacturers could be badly affected if a deal between the UK and the EU is not reached.
Mr Madders asked the minister to ‘guarantee that the trading arrangements for the automotive sector will be no less favourable than they are now’.
Responding Mr Baker failed to offer a commitment but instead said: “I hope and expect that as we progress through our negotiations, agree on an implementation period and then move on to our economic partnership, (Mr Madders) will find that an accelerating degree of certainty emerges.”
Outside the chamber, the Ellesmere Port and Neston MP said: “The disappointing response that I received will provide little comfort to workers who are concerned about their future and means that PSA remain unable to commit to the future of the Ellesmere Port factory.
“While I understand that negotiations are going on, industry is making decisions about whether to invest right now and large employers will not wait around for ever while the cabinet argue amongst themselves.
“I appreciate that the precise nature of our negotiating strategy cannot be released but there is nothing stopping ministers from saying loud and clear that they are putting the future of our manufacturing sector at the centre of their plans.
“Businesses need to know that a favourable trading relationship for them is a priority.”
His comment came as latest figures from industry body the SMMT showed motor production declined in 2017 with new investment in the UK motor industry shrinking.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, the UK’s biggest union, said: “These figures really ought to ring the alarm bells right across government. Our world class car manufacturing sector is at risk.”
He pointed to indications that following Brexit, the UK ‘will not have the tariff-free trade alignment on which our auto sector depends’ and added: “The transformation of the UK auto industry was something that the workforce and the sector worked very hard to bring about.
“There are strong markets for our products around the globe but our future success rests in the hands of the government.”