Business secretary pledges to publish Nissan letter - once commercial issues fade

Nissan is in the spotlight once again after questions were asked of the Government over its involved in the Sunderland plant winning the deal to make the new Qashqai and X-Trail.

Nissan is in the spotlight once again after questions were asked of the Government over its involved in the Sunderland plant winning the deal to make the new Qashqai and X-Trail.

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Business Secretary Greg Clark has said he intends to publish his letter to Nissan offering assurances about Brexit once "commercial confidentialities for the firm are no longer there".

The car manufacturer said in October it would be making the new Qashqai and X-Trail models in its Sunderland plant despite speculation it might quit the UK following the vote to leave the European Union.

Sunderland's Nissan base has been at the centre of questions since it confirmed it would build two new models.

Sunderland's Nissan base has been at the centre of questions since it confirmed it would build two new models.

The move secured 7,000 jobs in the Sunderland area, where most voters had backed Brexit in June's referendum.

But it prompted a volley of questions over whether a secret so-called "sweetheart deal" between Nissan and the Government had been struck.

Ministers have strongly denied any financial incentives were offered and Chancellor Philip Hammond has said any costs arising from the assurances would be small enough to be covered within the Department for Business's existing spending limits.

The National Audit Office has also found that there were no financial commitments in the letter that would need investigation.

Business Secretary Greg Clark.

Business Secretary Greg Clark.

Mr Clark said he had already set out its basic contents to the House of Commons.

Asked during a Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee hearing if he would share the letter in confidence, Mr Clark replied: "Let me take away that and consider it."

He added: "There are aspects that are commercially confidential but they are not permanently so, so my intention would be to release the letter as soon as the particular commercial confidentialities for the firm are no longer there."