Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley:

    It is always sad when people lose their jobs, whatever the reasons, but let us get some facts straight, including those studiously ignored by the Opposition Benches. First, Toyota is going ahead with producing the most popular model of car in the world in this country. That is good news ignored by Liberal and Labour Benches. Secondly, Honda is also closing down its factory in Turkey, which is within the customs union, showing that customs unions are not a magic solution to all our problems. Thirdly, it is worth putting on the record that Honda had the lowest value added in this country: 58% of the value of its Civic is imported from Japan, 26% is made in the UK and only 16% of its components are imported from the rest of Europe. Does that not show that you can run a just-in-time production line with the bulk of your components coming through customs procedures, as Honda has been doing?

    Baroness Vere of Norbiton:

    My noble friend makes a number of interesting points. Certainly, the plant in Turkey is also being closed by Honda as it focuses its operating facilities in Japan and the US. Sadly, there will also be 1,100 job losses in Turkey. We have to make sure that if customs processes are in place, they are as frictionless as possible. Some interesting facts—I found them interesting anyway—are that the Honda plant has to have 2 million components delivered every single day in 350 lorries and that it has one hour’s worth of components lineside. Noble Lords will therefore agree that making sure that lorries can get in and out of plants and across borders is important.

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