David Cameron has been warned that European and US sanctions against Russia could cost British jobs by Tory peer and major party donor Lord Bamford.
The Tory peer, who is chairman of JCB, which exports construction equipment to Russia, hit out at the "absurd" situation which meant his company would suffer due to sanctions "coming out of Brussels" which could "put hundreds of British jobs at risk".
Lord Bamford, who along with his family has given millions to the Conservative party, explained: “We ship both machines and spare parts to Russia and are the market leader for construction equipment in the country. If sanctions restrict sales of machines and spare parts, there will be obviously be a major impact on JCB, which could put hundreds of British jobs at risk.
“It seems absurd that a leading UK exporter, successfully selling machinery to construction companies and farmers in Russia, could be affected so dramatically by EU sanctions coming out of Brussels.”
The JCB boss' warning comes days after EU leaders decided to impose further sanctions against Russia after the downing of Malaysia AIrlines flight MH17 in Eastern Ukraine last month, marking the latest escalation in tensions between the West and Moscow.
The latest sanctions are aimed at Russia's oil industry, defence, dual-use goods and sensitive technologies, but there are fears that they will have knock-on effects for EU firms. Last September, JCB chief executive Alan Blake praised Russia “as one of the jewels in the crown of JCB’s global sales regions”.
Bob Dudley, chief executive of the oil giant BP, recently warned that further sanctions could have a "material adverse impact" on business.
Chancellor George Osborne has signaled that he is prepared for the UK to be hit as a knock-on effect of any further financial sanctions brought in against Russia, with the City of London already braced for any impact.
Meanwhile, Ian King, head of the global defence giant BAE Systems, suggested that commercial airlines may be more keen to use military equipment in the wake of the MH17 plane crash.
“After events that have recently happened to commercial airliners [I can see] a lot more of our technology being used," he said.
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