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I’ve just been interviewed by ITV Central News for this evening’s programme, regarding the job cuts and transformation plan announced by Jaguar Land Rover this afternoon.
Above all my thoughts are with the families and communities that could be impacted in our local area and across the West Midlands. The announcement will lead to lots of uncertainty for employees, but I understand JLR are looking to early retirement and voluntary redundancy options to help mitigate some of the impact.
As I have been warning for sometime, the automotive industry is facing several strong headwinds which include declining sales in China and significant falls in diesel sales – the latter is an issue I raised in Parliament last March and subsequently wrote to the Chancellor on with other MPs, asking him to consider reforming the damaging diesel taxes introduced in the 2017 Budget. JLR is affected more than most by falling diesel sales. Unfortunately, the Government has been too slow to act.
While the impact of Brexit in this case should not be overstated, it is undeniable that the disastrous way the Government has handled the Brexit negotiations has resulted in two years of deep uncertainty for businesses such as Jaguar Land Rover. It is now essential that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit is ruled out to avoid damaging JLR even more.
This will be a tough period for JLR and I cannot emphasise how much I feel for employees who may be impacted by this announcement, but I am hopeful that the company can transition, particularly with its commitment to an electric future. It is vital for our area that the company can thrive.
I will be following the developments closely in the coming days and will keep constituents informed. Naturally, I will be working closely with JLR management, trade unions, and Parliamentary colleagues over the coming days. I would encourage any concerned employees to contact me directly.