Airbus has warned it may leave the UK if the UK exits the European Union without a withdrawal agreement.
Airbus employs 14,000 people at 25 sites across the UK, with thousands employed by independent companies within on the European planemaker’s supply chain.
Airbus’ internal risk assessment on the impact of Brexit gave a stark warning to UK politicians, warning that a no-deal exit “would lead to severe disruption and interruption of UK production” and the scenario “would force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country, severely undermining UK efforts to keep a competitive and innovative aerospace industry, developing high value jobs and competences”.
The report goes on to caution that the current two-year transition deal, partially agreed between Westminster and Brussels is “too short for the EU and UK Governments to agree the outstanding issues, and too short for Airbus to implement the required changes with its extensive supply chain”.
Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, commented:
“In any scenario, Brexit has severe negative consequences for the UK aerospace industry and Airbus in particular. Therefore, immediate mitigation measures would need to be accelerated. While Airbus understands that the political process must go on, as a responsible business we require immediate details on the pragmatic steps that should be taken to operate competitively. Without these, Airbus believes that the impacts on our UK operations could be significant. We have sought to highlight our concerns over the past 12 months, without success. Far from Project Fear, this is a dawning reality for Airbus. Put simply, a No Deal scenario directly threatens Airbus’ future in the UK.”
The firm’s comments come after Prime Minister Theresa May committed to providing additional funding for the NHS, paid for by a so-called “Brexit dividend”, ignoring the reality of the situation that Brexit will cause significant damage to the UK economy in the short, medium, and long terms, which the Office for Budget Responsibility will cost the British taxpayer £15bn per year.
The ballooning costs of Brexit, which stand in direct contrast to the Leave campaign’s widely discredited bus-sized claims of saving £350m per week, have started to show signs of dampening the British public’s interest in leaving the EU. The reality of the difficulties and expense of Brexit have resulted in nearly two thirds of the country now understanding that Brexit negotiations are going poorly.