United Kingdom confident of good Brexit deal after Airbus concern - May's spokeswoman

Airbus says no-deal Brexit would force it to reconsider UK presence

A warning from aerospace firm Airbus that it could pull out of the United Kingdom with the loss of thousands of jobs in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit should serve as a "wake-up" call, politicians have said.

The company insisted that if Britain left both the EU's single market and customs union immediately and without any agreed transition, it would lead to "severe disruption and interruption of production".

Airbus alone has 14,000 UK employees in Bristol, Portsmouth, Wales, and elsewhere, and supports another 110,000 UK jobs, according to The Times' figures - and adds $7.8 billion to the UK GDP.

If there was no extension it would "carefully monitor any new investments in the United Kingdom and refrain from extending the United Kingdom suppliers/partners base", the report said.

Tom Williams, the chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, said: "In any scenario, Brexit has severe negative consequences for the United Kingdom aerospace industry and Airbus in particular".

In response to the report, Labour MP Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, called on May to reconsider her Brexit negotiating position.

"In the absence of any clarity, we have to assume the worst-case scenario", Tom Williams, the chief operating officer of Airbus, told The Times. We have sought to highlight our concerns over the past 12 months, without success.

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Tens of thousands of British workers face an uncertain future this evening, after aerospace giant Airbus threatened to quit the country over Brexit.

"Given the "no-deal/hard Brexit" uncertainties, the company's dependence on and investment in the flagship Wing Of Tomorrow programme would also have to be revisited, and corresponding key competencies grown outside the UK".

Airbus said late on Thursday that the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal in place would force it to reconsider its long-term position and put thousands of British jobs at risk.

"We are confident that we are going to get a good deal, one that ensures that trade is as free and frictionless as possible, including for the aerospace sector", May's spokeswoman said on Friday.

"This extremely negative outcome for Airbus would be catastrophic".

"The Government is working closely with companies to understand their concerns ahead of leaving the European Union and alongside industry will invest nearly £4 billion by 2026 to ensure the United Kingdom remains a world leader in civil aerospace".

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