Motorbike firm which said UK would thrive outside of EU goes into administration

PUBLISHED: 14:20 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:20 03 February 2020

The Duke of Cambridge (left) looks at a Norton motorbike with owner Stuart Garner. Photograph: PA/Arthur Edwards/The Sun.

The Duke of Cambridge (left) looks at a Norton motorbike with owner Stuart Garner. Photograph: PA/Arthur Edwards/The Sun.

PA Archive/PA Images

A firm which once claimed that UK was better prepared for Brexit than the ‘media has us believe’ has gone into administration in the same week the UK left the European Union.

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In September 2018 Norton Motorcycles owner Stuart Garner claimed he had no fears about Brexit, and said that it would be a "huge opportunity" to negotiate trade deals around the globe.

He claimed that the UK was better prepared for Brexit than the media would have us believe.

"It's what the country voted for so let's get on with it," he told the Leicester Mercury.

Commenting on the future for his iconic British business, he said: "I believe we will thrive outside the EU. There may be some short-term speed bumps but we'll come out of it stronger.

"We're a strong-willed nation and will make it succeed."

He added: "And I don't buy the media line that we are unprepared for Brexit."

A year ago, Stephen Barclay, the outgoing Brexit Secretary, said Norton was an example of a "great business" that would thrive when Britain leaves the EU.

However less than two years later, in the same week the UK was to leave the European Union, the firm has gone into administration after reportedly struggling to pay a tax bill. The owner also blamed Brexit uncertainty.

The Guardian also reported the firm's owner was facing issues over employee pension schemes and questions about government-backed grants and loans.

Garner released a statement after the news was reported. He said: "I'm devastated at the events over the last 24 hours and personally have lost everything. However, my thoughts are with the Norton team and everyone involved, from customers, suppliers and shareholders at this truly difficult time.

"Without dialogue Metro Bank appointed BDO administrators yesterday. We are now working positively and proactively with BDO to ensure Norton has the best possible chance to find a buyer. It has become increasingly difficult to manufacture in the UK, with a growing tax burden and ongoing uncertainties over Brexit affecting many things like, tariffs, exports and availability of funding."

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