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RMI Chairman, Peter Johnson, opened the evening with an insightful speech examining the main issues facing the automotive industry in what is a challenging period, not only for the sector, but also for the whole UK economy.
The UK automotive sector is “a global leader” and “it is vital that the government encourages both economic and consumer confidence and enables investment, in order for the retail motor industry to progress and thrive in a stable environment”, he said.
He stressed the importance of securing a trade deal to allow tariff free access to the European single market in order to not jeopardise the “future state and success” of the automotive sector. “It is now essential that the government makes a commitment to outline a clear negotiating position in order to ensure our industry has what it needs to secure its future success”, Peter Johnson added.
After the dinner, Andrew Neil analysed some of the major challenges that the UK economy is going through these days, “British politics has entered a precarious and uncertain period”, he said. He described wages stagnation as “the single biggest economic problem that this country is facing”, “real wages are now rising well behind inflation, they are simply not keeping pace with prices”, he added.
Talking about Brexit, he blamed the uncertainty currently surrounding Government’s plans for the slowness of the negotiations, “if you don’t have a clear idea of the endgame, you become a bad negotiator”, he said.
Also, he gave an update on the main issues that other states in the EU are experiencing these days, in particular, the strongly growing nationalist and anti-EU tendencies in many countries of the EU. He said that, in the light of these events, Brexit is still unlikely to be the European Union’s main worry.
“The biggest challenge of global policy is to keep this recovery going” because “we are in no conditions to face another recession, not just in Britain, but across the Western World, and the political consequences would be horrendous”, he continued.
“We need to keep this recovery going”, he insisted, “as we don’t have ammunitions in the arsenal to deal with another recession”, Andrew Neil finally said.