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Vauxhall threatens to pull out of Britain amid Brexit uncertainty

Vauxhall is considering shutting its two UK factories after Brexit – putting thousands of jobs at risk.

The carmaker’s French owner PSA is understood to be weighing up the closure of one or both of its sites in Luton and Ellesmere Port amid uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union.

PSA employs around 3,000 workers in the UK but has already slashed 650 jobs since October last year.

Around 900 people are employed at Vauxhall’s van-making plant at Luton, while 1,800 work in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, where the Astra (pictured) is made

Fears over the future of the Vauxhall plants emerged as business leaders continued to rally behind Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East said ‘any deal is better than a no deal’.

The 57-year-old urged politicians to back a practical plan for Brexit warning that the UK was running out of time to strike a deal.

‘We are slightly running out of time and I would, as a business leader, like to see politicians on both sides of the fence get on and negotiate a practical deal that works for business,’ he said.

‘People in business spend their lives negotiating agreements with other businesses. If two parties come together to make an agreement and each have slightly differing objectives then you have to end up making some compromises.’ 

Rolls-Royce employs more than 55,000 staff internationally, with around half of these based in the UK and a further 100,000 workers in Britain as part of its supply chain.

Mr East said the firm was still planning to stockpile parts in the event of a Brexit no deal in an effort to stop the business grinding to a halt.

The company relies heavily on its European suppliers which provide it with engine parts.

Earlier this year Rolls Royce and airplane maker Airbus revealed they would start hoarding parts in fear of a cliff edge exit from the European Union.

‘We are going to continue with our contingency plans and that includes buffer stocks so that we have the logistical capacity that we need to carry on running our business,’ Mr East added.

‘This agreement is only a draft and there’s a lot of steps to go between here and when we’re done.

‘We can’t guarantee anything out of this but I do have to be able to guarantee that we can continue doing our business after the 29th of March next year.’ PSA is also looking at stockpiling.

Around eight in ten cars made in the UK are exported to be sold in other countries, with half of them going to the EU.

The UK accounts for just 10 per cent of PSA’s sales.

‘We do not want to comment at this stage on the Brexit process and its assessment by PSA, as it is not the final step for implementation,’ a PSA spokesman said.

‘We are working in an agile mode, as usual, and we have several solutions to address different scenarios.’