Key employer warns of EU exit danger

“Uncertainty” over UK’s European role “being used against us.”

The boss of GKN, the engineering manufacturing giant based in Redditch and which employs over 900 people at other sites in Birmingham, Shropshire and Staffordshire, has warned that an EU exit would be ‘deeply harmful’ to industry and that the issue is already affecting Britain’s ability to attract investment.

GKN supplies specialised parts to the car and aerospace industries across the world. They are the global market leader in the design and manufacture of aircraft assemblies, components and advanced electrical systems.

As well as their HQ in Redditch, GKN Driveline at Erdington in Birmingham employs over 700 people, making propshafts and sideshafts for 1.7 million vehicles a year. Another 150 jobs are at GKN Wheels in Telford, while the firm also has sites at Leek in Staffordshire and Minworth in Birmingham.

Chief Executive of GKN Nigel Stein said the UK would be at risk of losing investment if it lost its position of influence in European policymaking. In a speech at the EEF conference in London, the Guardian reported him as saying: “From a GKN perspective the prospect of the UK talking itself into an exit from the EU would be deeply harmful to our industries, where we are part of a European footprint, not a country in isolation.

“Competition for investment is intense. And if there is one thing investors hate, it’s uncertainty. Be sure, even now the uncertainty over the UK’s position in Europe is being used against us.”