No Deal EU Exit: Manufacturing Sector

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

What steps his Department has taken to mitigate the potential effect on the economic sustainability of the manufacturing sector of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The steps we are taking to protect our manufacturing in the event of a no deal include supporting the Prime Minister’s deal and the negotiations to make sure that we have a smooth exit from the European Union, and the Treasury itself has made available in excess of £4 billion by way of contingency funding for Departments right across Whitehall.

Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

I thank the Minister for that response. Last month I surveyed businesses in my constituency and they overwhelmingly said that they wanted Brexit cancelled. Will the Chancellor stand up for British businesses, end the uncertainty and use his immense personal prestige in the Cabinet and with the Prime Minister to stop Brexit once and for all?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

It is just little old me, I am afraid, but I have to say that I believe we should respect the result of the June 2016 referendum, a democratic exercise that saw a higher turnout than for any other democratic event in the history of our country. The important thing now is that we get the right deal for us to leave, which we are working on. When it comes back to Parliament, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will support it.

Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

The Chancellor has recently attended two events that I was also present at, which were organised by major aerospace companies, so he knows how they feel about the terrifying prospects of no deal. As these are the companies that pay this country’s bills, why is he ignoring them?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

We are most certainly not ignoring those businesses—or indeed businesses from a variety of different sectors up and down the economy. We have been deeply engaged with business, through the Treasury, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and other Departments. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that, for example, on the issue of just-in-time deliveries and the flow of trade across our borders, we have done an immense amount of work to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal exit to make sure that we protect the very companies to which he refers.