Peter Lilley yesterday (20th February) met Greg Clark – Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – to discuss the possible impact on Vauxhall of the proposed merger between Peugeot and General Motors. The private meeting was organised for MPs representing constituencies near Vauxhall plants.
Peter said: “Greg Clark said that the management of Peugeot emphasised that they had turned that company around without closing any plants. At this stage there are no guarantees, but they have no plans to close either Luton or Ellesmere Port. The fact that both the Luton and Ellesmere Port plants have had substantial recent investment also makes it less likely that the combined group would want to close these plants. The Peugeot management are keen to increase their market share, and recognise that the Vauxhall brand is crucial to doing so. They were agnostic about the impact of Brexit, presumably because the 15% move in the exchange rate offsets the potential 10% tariff if no Free Trade deal with the EU is agreed.”
Peter said: “We discussed the pension fund, because many former Vauxhall workers depend on it. The Secretary of State assured us that the pensions regulator has strong powers and that they would require the pension fund to retain solid backing – possibly from the General Motors parent company.”