Honda in Swindon

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:23 pm on 19th February 2019.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 1:23 pm, 19th February 2019

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his remarks and the tone in which he expressed them. I will certainly keep the House informed about the taskforce’s progress. We should bear in mind that there are two years in which the workforce will continue to be employed. It is important that the sales in Swindon should continue so that their jobs can be secure. During that time, I want to find out whether in the first instance Honda, recognising its continued commitment to research and development, will see that it has an ideal facility in Swindon in which to build the next generation of vehicles,

The fact that there is a modern plant and a workforce in Swindon who have an international reputation for being excellent and innovative is a message that we should send out loudly and clearly. At a time when there are skill shortages across manufacturing industry, there is absolutely no reason why the opportunities made available to the workforce should not give them equally promising and rewarding careers in advanced manufacturing, such as they have enjoyed in Swindon. I will certainly update the House on the progress on that.

The hon. Gentleman asked about the trade agreement with Japan. My view is that the best outcome—indeed, the essential outcome—is that we should roll over, and continue to be able to benefit from, the trade arrangement that has been negotiated between the EU and Japan, unless and until we negotiate an alternative that is at least as good.