Japanese carmaker Honda is set to announce the closure of its only British car plant in 2022 with the loss of 3,500 jobs, a lawmaker told Reuters, in the latest blow to the UK car industry as Brexit approaches. Sarah Charlton reports.
(Reuters) – One of Japan’s big carmakers could be about to rock British politics.
Media reports claim Honda is about to pull the plug on its manufacturing operations in the country.
Sky News says the announcement could come Tuesday.
It says the plant in the southwest town of Swindon is likely to close in 2022.
That could could cost over 3,500 jobs.
But the political impact will be immediate.
The news would come just weeks before Brexit.
No word yet if that’s connected to any decision by Honda.
Swindon’s local Conservative lawmaker says it is NOT.
But the firm has previously warned that Brexit raised the risk of huge disruption.
Confirmation would also add to fears about the position of other carmakers.
Together, Honda, Toyota and Nissan account for about half of Britain’s car output.
The sector has been one of the country’s few big manufacturing success stories in recent years.
Now Nissan has already scrapped plans to build one future model in the country – partly blaming Brexit.
Any similar comments by Honda would be seized on by opponents of an EU exit.
So far Honda has refused to comment.
But it’s not just the Japanese firms to watch.
Last week sources told Reuters that US giant Ford has also threatened to move work overseas, if Brexit goes badly.
It’s been in the UK for over a hundred years.
For the British government, a manufacturing success story could quickly become a political nightmare.
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