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Welsh Government steps up planning for 'no-deal' Brexit

Credit: PA

The Welsh Government says it has stepped up its planning for a 'no-deal' Brexit to limit any damage to the Welsh Economy.

With just six months to go until the UK exits the European Union, government preparations are intensifying in every sector from fact finding on how a 'no-deal' would impact on jobs to building resilience if talks break down.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said a 'no deal' Brexit would be 'catastrophic and do long-term damage to the economy' and that it is engaging with the UK Government to ensure it's impact Is 'fully considered' by those in Whitehall.

Welsh Government officials and Richard Harrington MP - the UK government minister responsible for the car industry - met the head of Ford in Europe in Bridgend this week to discuss the plant's future. It employs 1,700 workers who are keen to see new investment in the site- and soon.

Ford is restructuring its European business but says it wont make any announcements about future investments in Bridgend until the uncertainty over trade arrangements are resolved.

The area's Labour MP Madeleine Moon says the Ford plant is the beating heart of the community and the UK Government must do all it can in negotiations to retain frictionless trade with Europe and in turn manufacturing jobs in Wales.

Thousands of Welsh manufacturing jobs rely on parts, people and products criss crossing European borders every day without delays.

Many manufacturing bosses fear if this Just In Time method is lost, investments and jobs will go elsewhere.

1,700
people are employed at the Ford Europe plant in Bridgend.

The Welsh Government says its providing funds for businesses to adapt and find new markets:

Since the referendum we have worked with groups across Wales to plan for Brexit. We are providing support through our £50m EU Transition fund, working on a new Brexit Business portal to help businesses prepare, and are expanding our overseas operations to protect existing markets and pursue new opportunities.

We are engaging with organisations across Wales, covering the private, public and third sectors to consider the impact of Brexit.

– Welsh Government

It says it has set up numerous groups:

  • European Advisory Group to bring together business leaders, representatives from universities, trade unions, agriculture, public services, politicians and the third sector to advise on the implications for Wales of Brexit.
  • Higher Education Brexit Working Group to provide advice on the implications of Brexit for the higher education sector in Wales.
  • Council for Economic Renewal Brexit sub-group with senior business leaders and organisations chaired by the Economy Secretary.
  • Environment and Rural Affairs Brexit Roundtable Stakeholder Group as a forum for engagement and collaboration between the Welsh Government and the food, fisheries, farming, forestry and the environment sectors.

Meanwhile Theresa May's cabinet will meet on Thursday to discuss a 'no-deal' Brexit and the next batch of Technical Papers outlining Britain's contingency plans will be published on the same day.

It's thought they will include details on Aviation and Aerospace- key sectors for the Welsh Economy.