EU Referendum

Brexit: Business in Wales looks for assurances on way ahead

Worker at Toyota's Deeside factory Image copyright Toyota
Image caption Toyota said it would 'closely monitor and analyse' the impact on our business operations

Wales has a small number of big companies but they employ a large number of people.

Those that went public with a view like Toyota, Airbus and Ford made the case for remaining in the EU for sake of their businesses.

Some of these companies wrote to workers urging them to consider this.

Such companies will be extremely disappointed and will have to consider their response.

Airbus has previously said that Brexit could lead to the company deciding to invest elsewhere which will concern workers at Deeside.

Companies do not like uncertainty but successful ones are also adaptable.

Adapting to these radically changing circumstances will be the next challenge for them.

Meanwhile, First Minister Carwyn Jones warned it was "now more difficult to attract investment into Wales and keep jobs in Wales".


Airbus UK president Paul Kahn admitted the company would have preferred a remain vote.

He said that they would have to consider future investments in Wales but he said the current programme would continue for the next two years.

"The impact of leaving the EU, we really don't know how it's going to take shape," he said.

The Broughton wings plant, which employs 6,000 workers, was a very productive site and investment was continuing.

"There certainly is a period of uncertainty coming up," he added.

"There is no doubt that Airbus would have preferred Britain to stay in the EU," he said.

The group's chief executive Tom Enders called it a "lose lose" result for Britain and Europe.

"However, the world will not stand still, nor will Europe. I hope the divorce will proceed with a view on minimizing economic damage to all impacted by the Brexit."

Toyota, which employs 540 workers at its Deeside engine plant, said: "Going forward we will closely monitor and analyse the impact on our business operations in the UK, and how we can maintain competitiveness and secure sustainable growth together with the UK automotive industry and other stakeholders."

Tata Steel said: "Decisions by the UK electorate will always be respected by Tata Steel. Whatever the political framework, we are committed to developing the best prospects possible for our UK operations."

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Media captionBosses share their views with BBC Wales business correspondent Brian Meechan

Aston Martin, which has plans to open a factory at St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan, warned that the company was likely to require additional "productivity and efficiency" gains.

Chief executive Andy Palmer said the UK Government must "maintain economic stability and secure a deal with the EU which safeguards UK automotive interests - this includes securing tariff-free access to European and other global markets."

Ford said it would "take whatever action is needed to ensure that our European business remains competitive and keeps to the path toward sustainable profitability".

CBI Wales wants strong and calm leadership from the UK Government, adding: "The British people's vote to leave the EU is a momentous turning point in our history. The country has spoken and it's for us all to listen".

The Federation of Small Business in Wales called for stability for the business community.

Policy unit chair Janet Jones said: "Nearly a quarter of FSB members across the UK export, with the majority exporting to the single market. Access to the single market means access to 500 million potential consumers, more than 26 million businesses and is worth 11 trillion euros.

" We call on the Government for clarity on the impact to smaller firms who export wider afield through EU FTA agreements."

Chris Nott, senior partner at Capital Law and chair of the Welsh Government's financial and professional services advisory panel was scathing, saying: "I hadn't realised that so many people in this country could have been misled by the garbage of information that the leaders of the leave campaign either manipulated or made up.

"Those fraudsters have set back our country for generations and have messed up my children's future."

The South and Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce wants assurances that universities, farmers and organisations reliant on EU funding would not lose out.

President Liz Maher said: "Going forward it is important that the result is accepted across the board. Politicians must now coalesce and put differences aside to ensure a strong government can negotiate the best deal for Welsh businesses, especially those trading with Europe."

The Federation of Master Builders said it was important "the free-flowing tap of migrant workers from Europe is not turned off" with at present 12% of British construction workers of non-UK origin.

While larger businesses - employing 38% of private sector workers in Wales - were mainly in favour of remaining by a significant margin, there was more of a split with smaller firms.

Small businesses - responsible for 50% of private sector workers - are a major force in the Welsh economy.

Those who trade with the EU may feel concerned about access to the single market and whether they will now face tariffs, making their products more expensive.

However, whether they trade with the EU or not, all businesses feel the impact of regulations.

Excessive red tape is a common complaint from small businesses, even those who were in favour of remaining.

They will be hoping Brexit may change some of that.

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