I pressed the Government during an Urgent Question on the 16 October 2017 to take firm action to support the automotive sector and to ensure that the proposed job losses at the Ellesmere Port Vauxhall plant are not seen.
Over the weekend, Vauxhall announced its intention to reduce its workforce by 400 at its Ellesmere Port plant due to a reduction in the sales of their Astra range. With 450 of the total plant workforce belonging to people who commute from North East Wales this decision, if carried through, will hurt families in Delyn.
Although the consensus for the potential loss of jobs is due to the poor sales of the Astra, PSA – the French owned parent company of Vauxhall – have given very clear warnings about the future. They have called for the Government to be clear on what the UK’s trading relationship will be with the EU once we leave and because of the vacuum that has been created by the Government’s infighting businesses are taken precautions to protect themselves from a no deal situation.
The Urgent Question was granted following the local Labour MP, Justin Madders MP, securing the debate. North Wales MPs will be working closely together to ensure that action is taken by the Government so that these potential job losses don’t happen and if they do that alternative jobs are ready and waiting.
I want a commitment from the UK Government to work closely with the Economic Secretary, Ken Skates AM, and local MPs to secure the jobs in the plant. 450 Welsh employees need certainty that they will still have a highly skilled job when the consultation process is brought to an end and this can only happen if the Government takes action now, along with the Welsh Assembly Government, to demonstrate that they are serious about keeping car manufacturing in the UK.
Businesses abhor the vacuum being created by the infighting we see between the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is given them no direction on how the UK will trade with the EU after Brexit is complete. Many businesses have pointed out to me the need to remain a member of the Single Market so that they can continue to provide the decent jobs we need.
I will be working with the Trade Unions to make sure that the Government undertakes its duty of care for those working in the automotive sector. For too long this UK Government has allowed jobs to disappear because of their unbending ideology; ideology which could see further investment in North Wales lost.