The country’s biggest carmaker said the “fluctuating” global market has triggered the decision to temporarily close down its Solihull plant from October 22, sparking a furious response from UK politicians amid the Slovakian investment.
The closure comes off the back of plans to shift all production of JLR’s Discovery model to Slovakia from the West Midlands site, and a fall in demand for diesel cars amid concern over emissions.
A number of MPs and MEPs have spoken exclusively to Express.co.uk to voice their concern over the closure and investment in Slovakia.
Independent MEP Jonathan Arnott, who defected from Ukip in January this year, said: “It seems that the rules change according to who is doing the asking when it comes to the European Commission.
“Giving money to a company to effectively relocate from one country to another sounds like a textbook definition of distorting competition under Article 107 of the TFEU to me.
“The Single Market has never been a level playing field.
“The sooner we’re properly out of the European Union and able to set our own policies, the better.”
Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green, said: “It seems quite clear to me that the owners of Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors Limited India, are seeking to transfer a large part of their operations, possibly as a precursor to transferring all their operations, to a low-wage part of the EU.
The EU has approved a huge state aid package to help fund a Slovakian JLR plant
The factory floor at the Solihull plant
“This is a typical ‘race to the bottom’.
“Jaguar Land Rover has a highly skilled and well-paid workforce in this country who have been loyal to the car manufacturer for many years.
“But Tata Motors Limited only appear to be interested in the ‘bottom line’ and if they can make more money out of transferring their production to a low-wage country, while also picking up handsome inducements from the Government there, then they have no hesitation in doing so and little concern about the impact on their loyal workforce here.”
West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has also lashed out at the news.
Workers on the factory floor at the Solihull Jaguar Land Rover plant
The Libertarian Party UK Deputy Chairman said: “Once again we see EU investment into industry to the detriment of the UK.
“Those begging for the opportunity to remain in this monstrous monolith really should start noting what is going on.
“This socialist union of European states will not be happy until parity is achieved between the pieces of land formerly known as nations.
“If that requires reducing the UK economy to the level of states recovering from years behind the Iron Curtain, then that is what they do.
“As for Jaguar, they should know better. Their drop in profits has come largely due to an over-investment in diesel engines which are now being persecuted by the very EU who pertain to be helping them.”
East Midlands Ukip MEP Jonathan Bullock said this latest development was not the first time the EU had acted in such a way.
He said: “In 2012 the European Investment Bank loaned Ford £80million to develop a Transit factory in Turkey – Ford thus closed its plant in Southampton.
“The EU is fundamentally hostile to the interests of British workers.
“Worse, as long as we are paying into the European Union, British taxpayers are subsidising the transfer of British jobs, be it to Turkey or Slovakia.
MEPs and MPs have reacted furiously to the news
“We cannot leave this farce, soon enough.”
However, Dame Caroline Spelman, Conservative MP for Meriden and the West Midlands, who meets with JLR regularly, explained the Solihull plant’s temporary closure was to allow it to “undertake wholesale change to prepare for electrification”.
She said: “The upgrade of the Solihull plant will mean it is at the forefront of electric and hybrid car production, which is where the future of car production lies.”
Jaguar Land Rover has been contacted for comment.