COUNCIL leaders have stressed how the survival of Oxford's Mini plant is 'crucial' to the city's future.

Councillors have voiced concerns following BMW's Brexit bombshell yesterday, when the company's corporate communications director said he could not give 'any guarantees' about the Cowley factory's future.

Graham Biggs admitted that in the event of a no-deal Brexit on March 29, BMW could be forced to move production to Holland - putting 4,500 jobs at risk.

Read more about his statement here

Susan Brown, leader of Oxford City Council, said she was 'deeply concerned at the potential loss of one of the city’s major industries.'

She added: "It would have a detrimental effect on the immediate area.

"BMW is a major asset to the local and the national economy, as well as being one of the world’s leading car manufacturers with a huge presence in the county. 

"Motor vehicle manufacture in Oxford has a long and successful history, both with BMW and its predecessors.

"The Mini has been an unqualified success, providing jobs for the city and playing a crucial role in our local economy."

She said the city and county councils, and Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, will be offering support to BMW and encouraging staff to stay in Oxford despite the uncertainties.

Oxford Mail:

Mini plant Oxford. Pic: Jon Lewis

Ms Brown said any changes in Oxford's car industry would also inflict 'major implications on a national scale.'

She added: "We call upon the Government to respond to this as the country moves ever closer to a no-deal Brexit.

"Oxfordshire is a key driver behind the UK economy and is one of just three net county contributors to the exchequer, adding £23bn a year to the national economy."

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Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said the council will do all it can to support BMW and staff so they can look forward to a 'bright future.'

He said: "We recently celebrated 100 years of car making in Oxford and I want to make sure it has an equally long future ahead.

"In Oxfordshire we have developed an exciting specialism in autonomous vehicles and other smart transport solutions.

"BMW has already said it would make electric Minis in Cowley and we will do everything we can to ensure that happens."