Jacob Rees-Mogg calls for probe into JLR's Slovakian 'sweetener'

A leading Brexiteer has called for an investigation into a £110 million "sweetener" given to Jaguar Land Rover under EU rules.

Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg
Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg

The firm was given the cash by Slovakia in 2015 to shift production of its Land Rover Discovery model to the central European country, and has since created 2,350 jobs there.

Prior to 2015 the model was made at the JLR plant in Solihull.

Slovakia offered the money to the firm in state aid in a deal that is allowed by the EU, meaning as a member state Britain could not object.

Jaguar Land Rover's engine factory at the i54 in Wolverhampton

It came as JLR, which employs around 1,800 people at its Wolverhampton engine factory, announced that it was axing up to 4,500 British jobs amid a downturn in China, lower demand for their diesel engines and Brexit uncertainty.

Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: "Jaguar Land Rover has 110 million reasons to back the UK's membership of the EU.

"One of the disadvantages of membership of the EU is that it uses our money to move our jobs from the UK to other EU countries.

"They won't get this money once we have left. This sweetener should be looked into and we should consider withholding it from the £39 billion financial settlement."

The grant from Slovakia has been investigated by the European Commission, but was found to be compliant with law as the factory is located in a disadvantaged area.

JLR said the 4,500 global redundancies will start on a voluntary basis.

Most of the cuts are expected to be in the UK, with bosses insisting that savings and "cashflow improvements" will come over the next 18 months.

The announcement is part of plans to cut costs and improve cash flows by £2.5 billion including "reducing employment costs and employment levels".

A task force made up of JLR bosses, MPs, council leaders and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has been set up to help the Midlands workers affected by the cuts.

JLR was expected to build one million vehicles by 2020, but sales fell 6.4 per cent in December.

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