Unite, along with major manufacturers, have warned that government plans to diverge from EU regulations could seriously harm automotive, aerospace and food and drink firms across the supply chain.
Carmakers said the move will cost “billions” and hurt “UK manufacturing and consumer choice”, while Unite said non-alignment will “undoubtedly be the final nail in the coffin” for already struggling manufacturers.
The Confederation for British Industry said regulatory alignment with the EU “supports jobs and competitiveness — particularly in some of the most deprived regions of the UK”. Meanwhile the Food and DrinkAssociation said “it will mean businesses will have to adjust to costly new checks, processes and procedures, that will… may well result in price rises”.
The warnings came after the chancellor Sajid Javid told the Financial Times, “There will not be alignment, we will not be a rule taker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union – and we will do this by the end of the year.”
“There will be an impact on business one way or the other, some will benefit, some won’t.”
Commenting on the chancellor’s ruling out of staying close to the EU after Brexit, Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said, “It’s never been clearer that this government of City spivs simply don’t understand or care about manufacturing.
“Sajid Javid talks about there being winners and losers from a hard Brexit with no alignment to the EU. But there will be no winners unless he wakes up and understands why product certification, rules of origin and frictionless, tariff-free trade matter.
“Javid’s statement needs urgent clarification from the secretary of state for business, Andrea Leadsom, before all confidence drains away. The government’s position is grossly negligent and will undoubtedly be the final nail in the coffin for many already struggling within UK manufacturing.”