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Airbus says UK investments could be unlocked if Brexit agreement is passed

File photo dated 16/7/2017 of an Airbus A380 on display at the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire. The aerospace firm has warned it could pull out of the UK with the loss of thousands of jobs in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday June 22, 2018. The firm, which employs 14,000 people at 25 sites across the country, said it would "reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country" if Britain crashed out of the single market and customs union without a transition agreement. See PA story POLITICS Brexit Airbus. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

By Neil Lancefield, Press Association Transport Correspondent

The UK boss of European plane manufacturer Airbus has said its investments in the UK could be unlocked if Theresa May's deal with Brussels is passed.

Katherine Bennett told the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that the company has been in a "holding pattern" with "nothing new" invested in the UK over the past year.

Asked if this strategy is likely to continue during a transition period following the UK's withdrawal from the EU, Ms Bennett replied: "What we said was that if there is a chaotic Brexit or no deal, that is why our investments were put on hold.

"If the withdrawal agreement is successful in some form or another, then Airbus would consider continuing to invest as the company has done over many years.

"We have great capability ... but obviously because of the uncertainty, which we want to see reversed, that is why investments have been put on hold."

Ms Bennett described the agreement as a "welcome first step" amid Airbus's concerns about uncertainty and a lack of clarity.

She said there are "a lot of benefits in the agreement" but noted that "some of the customs issues etc are quite complicated".

Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS Group, which represents the UK aerospace, defence and space sectors, told the committee the withdrawal agreement "definitely doesn't take us back to business as usual".

He continued: "For us it's not as good as it is today and it won't ever be as good as it is today.

"But it is an awful lot better than the chaos that we would see leaving the EU without a deal."

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