Brexit: Exports: 15th March 2016

Ian C. Lucas (Wrexham) (Lab)
8. If he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on exports from its (a) aerospace and (b) automotive sectors. [904093]

The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise (Anna Soubry)
It is absolutely the case that our country will be stronger, safer and better off remaining in the European Union. United Kingdom automotive industry exports to the EU were worth £15 billion in 2014, while aerospace exports to the EU amounted to £5.8 billion. Our membership allows us to continue to attract international investment to the United Kingdom, as well as to work with all the countries in the EU through the various agreements that we have with other countries throughout the world.

Ian C. Lucas
Toyota UK and Airbus UK are two anchor companies heading huge supply chains in north-east Wales that employ tens of thousands of people. Does the Minister agree that it would be absolute madness to throw those anchors away by risking leaving the European Union, and placing jobs in Wales and the rest of the UK at risk?

Anna Soubry
It is a pleasure to agree with the hon. Gentleman, who might now become my hon. Friend on this matter. We are undoubtedly, as I have said, better remaining a member of the European Union, not just for the sake of the larger companies but because, as he rightly identifies, the effects extend all the way through the supply chains, which often encompass the smaller companies. I encourage him to urge the leader of the Labour party to make sure that it puts its full weight behind the “stronger in” campaign. He would be better off doing that than engaging with CND rallies.
Gavin Robinson (Belfast East) (DUP)
The right hon. Lady knows that planes have the great ability to cross borders without pesky border controls. I have found her to be a champion for Bombardier and the C Series in my constituency, so will she confirm that she will continue the discussions with UK Trade & Investment and secure sales for the C Series aircraft, irrespective of what happens on 23 June?

Anna Soubry
Of course. It was a great pleasure to come to the hon. Gentleman’s constituency and specifically to see Bombardier’s excellent C Series plane and the construction of its wings. I am delighted to say that I am doing everything I can—indeed, we all are—to make sure that UKTI is properly used by all industries, especially the one that he represents, to increase sales, including those of the C Series plane. It is an excellent plane.

Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) (Lab)
Since 1995, Europe’s share of commercial aviation manufacturing has risen from 16% to 57% of the world market because of the co-operation between France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Would the Minister not be better off having a word with some of her own colleagues than worrying about the Labour party, which is united in its support for remaining in the European Union? Does not that statistic provide a practical and potent example, which she can use with her Back Benchers and supporters, of why it is absolutely in the UK’s long-term interest to remain in the European Union?
Anna Soubry
As I have already said, we are indeed stronger, safer and better off in the European Union. I am delighted that the leader of my party, the Prime Minister, is leading the campaign for us to remain in the European Union. If I may say so, I was told only yesterday that the majority of Conservative MPs support the Prime Minister in Stronger In. However, I will make the point yet again that, unfortunately, the leader of the Labour party is failing in his duty to play a full part. He goes on CND rallies instead of supporting Trident, for example, and instead of getting out there and supporting Stronger In.