Behind the Headlines

"Worries about border delays unfounded": really?

Written on 09/17/2018

What’s the story?

Conservative MP and Brexiter Bernard Jenkin accused the CEO of Jaguar Land Rover of inventing consequences of a no deal Brexit, including border delays. Read more in the Guardian

How reliable is the story?

Rubbish. The CEO of Jaguar Land Rover Ralf Speth has over 30 years of experience in the industry and understands the problems a no deal Brexit would create.

What’s the background?

  • Last week, Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, warned that tens of thousands of jobs in the car industry are at risk from a no deal Brexit. Evidence

  • Speth stated that any delay to product parts could halt production, costing some £60 million a day, and that a ‘bad Brexit’ -- not just a no-deal brexit -- would cost the company some £1.2 billion in profits each year. Evidence

  • Moreover, Jaguar Land Rover has already had to take action to brace for headwinds created in part by Brexit, and announced today it had put staff on a three-day week until Christmas. Evidence

  • These warnings of damaging consequences of no deal Brexit follow those of Airbus and BMW. Evidence

  • However, Bernard Jenkin, Conservative MP and vocal Brexit supporter, accused Speth of ‘scaremongering’, arguing that the UK could continue to have a drive-through border, with checks done at the factories from where the products are exported. Evidence

  • Jenkin used the example of the US-Canada just-in-time supply chain to claim that it’s possible to move goods across customs frontiers without delay. Evidence

  • Yet the US-Canada border is a hard border with physical infrastructure and customs posts, which would add significant delays compared to the current situation as part of the Customs Union. Evidence

  • And even then, it exists through a detailed agreement between the two countries, which would not be the case between the UK and EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Evidence

  • Over the summer, the government said if the UK leaves without a deal it would set up technical solutions to minimise delays and wave most goods through. Evidence

  • However, in July the House of Commons Brexit committee was warned that the EU (and WTO) will insist on border checks if the UK leaves without a deal. Evidence

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This Behind the Headlines Briefing was first published on the DoorstepEU app: