JAGUAR Land Rover is to cut production because of ‘continuing headwinds’ affecting the car industry.
The announcement was made today hours after its chief executive was accused of fabricating warnings about potential hard Brexit job losses.
The automotive giant said it was making ‘temporary adjustments’ at its Castle Bromwich site in Birmingham, with staff being placed on a three-day week until Christmas.
The move came hours after former shadow minister Sir Bernard Jenkin accused Ralf Speth of scaremongering over a prediction that crashing out of the EU would have a ‘horrifying’ effect on the leading automotive firm’s business.
Speth had told the UK’s first Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham last week – attended by the prime minister – that a hard Brexit could result in the ‘worst of times’ for the UK while the cost to Jaguar Land Rover would be more than £1.2 billion a year.
Jaguar Land Rover declined to comment on Jenkin’s comments, but in a statement regarding Castle Bromwich, it said: ‘As is standard business practice, Jaguar Land Rover regularly reviews its production schedules to ensure market demand is balanced globally.
‘In light of the continuing headwinds impacting the car industry, we are making some temporary adjustments to our production schedules at Castle Bromwich.
‘We are, however, continuing to over-proportionally invest in new products and technologies, and are committed to our UK plants, in which we have invested more than £4 billion since 2010 to future proof manufacturing technologies to deliver new models.’
Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: ‘This is the continuing effect of the chaotic mismanagement of the Brexit negotiations by the government, which has created uncertainty across the UK’s automotive industry and the manufacturing sector generally.
‘It is also the result of the mishandling of how the UK makes a just transition from diesel and combustion engines to electric vehicles. Both issues have damaged the ”jewel in the crown” of UK manufacturing – our automotive industry.
‘The situation is not helped when you have arch-Brexiteer MP Sir Bernard Jenkin accusing Ralf Speth of ”making it up” when it comes to Brexit and the car industry.
‘Jenkins’ comments are highly irresponsible and misinformed when future employment is at stake and are entering into the world of fantasy economics.’
Jenkin is a former shadow defence secretary and ex-shadow secretary of state for the regions.