JIM RATCLIFFE, the Brexit supporting billionaire owner of Ineos, has ditched plans to open his new car factory in Wales in favour of a site near France’s border with Germany.
In September 2019 Ratcliffe, who is one of Britain’s wealthiest businessmen, announced that his company would bring 500 jobs to Wales with his new off-road vehicle factory. The site was scheduled to open near a Ford plant which closed earlier this year, costing the local community 1700 jobs. However, he has now ditched these plans in favour of a site near the French/German border despite his huge support of Brexit boosting British business.
Leading up to the 2016 referendum, Ratcliffe said that Britain would thrive outside of the EU and urged the public to vote Leave. His plans to open the Welsh plant gave hope to Britain’s car manufacturing industry which will be hard hit when trade with the bloc, its main export destination, becomes more difficult after Brexit.
However, his company opted instead to move their planned site to Hambach, a former Daimler plant in France. He said the site ‘presented us with a unique opportunity that we simply could not ignore: to buy a modern automotive manufacturing facility with a world-class workforce’. While plans to bring employment to Covid-hit Wales have been ditched, Ratcliffe will create 1300 jobs at the French plant.
In September Ratcliffe decided to move his £17.5 billion fortune from the UK to tax-free Monaco. He was previously one of the Exchequer’s biggest tax contributors. After the Brexit vote, he urged the government to adopt a tough approach to negotiations with the EU, saying: ‘We must listen, we must be unwaveringly polite and retain our charm. But there is no room for weakness or crumpling at 3 am when the going gets tough and most points are won or lost.’
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