Why Sajid Javid is the chancer of the exchequer
PUBLISHED: 13:48 24 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:48 24 January 2020
PA Wire/PA Images
Remember when the chancellor once claimed that Britain is better off in the single market?
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Are all the former Remainers now in Johnson's cabinet as shockingly fickle as Sajid Javid?
As David Cameron's business secretary, and therefore well-placed to know all the facts, he said in the 2016 referendum campaign: "I still believe that Britain is better off in. And that's all because of the single market," adding that the only thing guaranteed about leaving the EU was a decade of "stagnation and doubt".
Now he says: "We will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union," and "once we've got this agreement in place with our European friends," not even specifying what type of agreement, "we will continue to be one of the most successful economies on Earth."
Could this complete U-turn have anything to do with naked ambition?
Savid Javid uses the example of the Japanese motor industry thriving within a unique regulatory framework. It is wholly misleading to suggest that this example would support the case for divergence from EU regulation at least for the motor industry.
Japan produces five times as many cars as does the UK. More than 90% of cars sold in Japan are made there. Only 15% of the cars sold in the UK are made here. Over half of our car exports are to the EU. Less than one in six of Japan's car exports are to the EU. The Japanese car industry's strategy is to produce locally in its largest markets (EU, USA and China).
Most significantly, the Japanese industry is Japanese-owned. All of the UK car makers are foreign-owned, and all the owners have other car factories within the EU.
If the divergence of UK regulation makes UK production uneconomic, production will be relocated. Don't assume that these companies have too much vested in the UK to move.
Ford, once our largest car maker, now produces no vehicles in the UK and is running down its engine manufacture.
The government is investing heavily in electric vehicle technology. What will be the point if we have no motor industry?
Nick Seale, Leamington Spa
I am going to my house in Germany at the end of January and returning on Sunday, February 2. My car insurance happens to be due for renewal at 23:59 on February 2. Not normally an issue as it will renew automatically.
However, due to Brexit, visitors driving in Europe will, at the end of January, require a 'green card'.
When I rang them, my insurers told me this isn't a problem and posted one to me for the existing policy. (The green card needs to be posted and cannot be e-mailed. How long this might remain free, I don't know).
However, they also told me they cannot issue a new green card for the upcoming insurance (starting February 3) until the new policy is actually in force.
If I had not planned my return to the UK on the day the old policy expires it would mean I would not have a valid green card - and therefore technically might not be insured - from February 3 onwards.
Readers planning to drive in Europe post-Brexit need to keep this in mind if their current vehicle insurance policy expires during their visit, especially if they intend to change insurance companies. Also, if you intend taking a trailer or caravan, you will need a separate green card for this as well as the car.
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