Guardian readers letters December 19, 2019
The government must deliver over automotive industry
With the General Election over and the post mortems of what went wrong for the Labour Party to be completed we need to look outward, not inwards, and upwards, not downwards.
But I still fear for the uncertainty regarding our manufacturing industry as 2019 comes to a close. What has 2020 in store?
EU trade negotiations will be crucial to the future of UK Automotive. As we see another month of falling car production in the UK, numbers were down four per cent in October, with 132,752 units coming off the production lines.
This means that output has dropped in 16 of the last 17 months, with August 2019 the odd one out thanks to summer shut down being moved to mitigate the effects of the anticipated Brexit deadline.
The General Election is now history, we may be leaving the EU but there will be a long transition period to go through.
These are worrying times as Brexit poses an existential threat to the auto industry, when what we need is strength and stability to face the global economic challenges and technological changes that are affecting automotive firms worldwide.
Our auto sector is led by exports, taking advantage of the foundation of free and frictionless trade on which it was built, shipping vehicles to more than 160 countries around the world.
During these uncertain times we need to be able to rely on close trading relations with our key partners, including the European Union and beyond.
When it comes to Brexit, detailed trade negotiations have yet to begin and they will be complex and will take time.
They will be essential to unlocking investment so the industry can deliver goals in cleaner air, zero carbon emissions, and the ability to go on innovating, building new products and marketing them globally.
Latest forecasts show that rather than producing two million cars a year by 2020, as expected recently, a WTO tariff scenario remains a possibility if we are unable to secure a post Brexit trade deal by the end of next year, and could see us only producing a million.
This Conservative government must deliver the ambition, the competitive business environment and the commitment to keep automotive in Britain.
Thought For The Week
All our journeys start with a first step! Imagine watching a toddler achieving first steps, and then finding life from standing up and not crawling round.
We are taking hesitant steps , through Advent to Christmas Day. What will Christmas be like this year? Familiar or different?
A journey to discover, to find ourselves, even to come home, as we take steps into the wonder, awe and delight of the coming of Jesus into our world as a vulnerable baby.
One could argue that we find our deepest desires as we journey not in our arriving, not always in the finding but in the searching.
It's walking within the carols, the nativity plays, the Christmas tree festivals, the purchasing of presents and luxury foodstuffs, asking ourselves on the way, as to the meaning of the season and then there is an arriving, to find a baby.
The destination is reached, so ponder at the significance of this arrival. Not just of yours, but of His.
Who is this Child, born in Bethlehem, born to be King, born to be Saviour of the whole world, born to reveal God in visible body, time and space?
What difference does this arrival make to You?
Rev Frances Ballantyne
Spalding Methodist Church