- July 8, 2020
- Posted by: Carwyn Jones AM
- Category: Latest News
Bridgend MS Carwyn Jones has expressed his disappointment and anger at the decision by Ineos Automotive to suspend work on its new plant in Bridgend. The company has decided to pursue other opportunities and is currently in talks with Mercedes-Benz about the possibiity of acquiring its Hambach site in Moselle, France.
Last September, Ineos Automotive announced that it would be constructing a new bespoke 250,000 sq foot manufacturing and assembly plant at the Brocastle Business Park, adjacent to the Ford site, in Bridgend, for the production of its new 4×4 Grenadier vehicle, giving a huge vote of confidence in the workforce and economy in Wales. Their decision was a huge boost to the area of Bridgend with the promise of up to 500 jobs. The Welsh Government invested a lot of time and money in attracting Ineos to invest in the area.
Mr Jones said “ People right across my Bridgend constituency are hugely disappointed to hear of this decision. This is a firm with an owner that backed Brexit and then looks to invest in the EU instead of the UK. The company had an agreement and it would appear that they have gone back on their agreement.”
Following this news, Mr Jones tabled an urgent question to the Welsh Government.
Mr Jones asked the Minister for Economy and Transport Ken Skates whether he agreed with him ” that where businesses make a case for Brexit that there is an extra responsibility on them to invest in the UK and not invest in the single market purely because it may be more convenient.”
In response to Mr Jones, the Minister called the decision ‘perplexing given that the business in question has been such a supporter of Brexit’. The Minister added that there was no doubt whatsoever that Brexit is doing immense damage to the automotive industry and the economy in general. He said ‘Essentially, what they’ve decided to do—fact—is go to France just at the point that we’re reaching the end of the transition period, with no light at the end of the tunnel.’
Mr Skates added “They are taking to France an icon of British automotive history and they’re going to build it in Europe rather than in Britain where the company had promised to construct it. That will be very disappointing.”
Mr Skates told Mr Jones that the decision by Ineos had come out of the blue as the site in France only came on to the market last Friday. He said “Everything we were doing with the company was leading to the successful manufacturing of the Grenadier within Bridgend, and that decision was taken over a matter of just days not to invest in Wales, and it is one that we deeply regret and we are incredibly disappointed at.”
The Minister stated that there was a slim chance that Ineos would change its mind but that it would require the deal in France to fall through. He assured Mr Jones that the Welsh Government would continue working to ensure that as many job opportunities come to Bridgend and the surrounding communities as possible.