Following the news on Monday that PSA, the French company which owns Peugeot and Citroen, had agreed a deal with General Motors for the rights to Vauxhall and Opel, an Urgent Question was requested by Justin Madders MP regarding the future of the UK plants.
As you know I have also written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, but I wanted to press home the importance of the Ellesmere Port plant for North East Wales. Many people work at the plant, but more than that many businesses form part of the supply chain for the plant. Meaning that many hundreds of jobs are linked, both directly and indirectly, with the success of Ellesmere Port.
I asked the Minister a two-part question. First, would he promise to work closely with the Welsh Assembly Government in securing a long and healthy future for Ellesmere Port. Second, would he promise the House that our car manufacturing industry will retain tariff free access to the Single Market so that we can sell our cars to Europe without barriers.
The Minister answered only one of my questions. He promised to work closely with the Welsh Assembly Government. But it was glaringly obvious that he did not want to answer the question about tariff free access. I believe it is vitally important for the country as a whole, if not certain sectors of our economy, to retain access to the Single Market. It means that there are less barriers to trade, which mean businesses have more money for jobs. Any barrier to trade will make us poorer.
I was disappointed with the Secretary of States answer, but I will continue to press, along with my colleague Justin Madders MP, for the future of our local economy.