Lord Sugar says Sunderland will pay for Brexit with 'mass unemployment' after predicting Nissan will follow Honda's closure

Lord Sugar spoke out after car-maker Honda's decision to close its car factory in Swindon, with the loss of 3,500 jobs.

Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 2:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 2:32 pm
Lord Sugar blames Sunderland's Brexit vote for Honda's decision to close its Swindon factory.

And the billionaire business magnate predicts it won't be long before Nissan makes the same decision, leaving Sunderland to "pay with mass unemployment".

The entrepreneur, who stars in BBC TV show The Apprentice, is Britain's 95th-richest man, with a personal fortune estimated at $1.15billion.

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He pointed the finger at Sunderland for Honda's decision in a Tweet sent yesterday afternoon, shortly after news of the Japanese carmaker's shock announcement emerged.

He wrote: "Honda to leave UK with a potential loss of 3,500 jobs in 2022. It won't be long for Nissan to make same decision.

"Sunderland you tipped the scales in 2016 vote and now you will pay with mass unemployment in your area, not just Nissan factory, but all the peripheral suppliers."

Earlier this month, Nissan did a U-turn on a previous pledge that its next generation X-Trail 4x4 SUV will be made in Sunderland.

Lord Sugar blames Sunderland's Brexit vote for Honda's decision to close its Swindon factory.

The Tweet prompted more than 1,000 replies, and when one user told Lord Sugar it was "embarrassing someone with your influence and following and apparent intelligence makes such a statement", he replied: "Truth hurts."

Honda this morning confirmed that it will close its plant in the Wiltshire town in 2021, with the loss of 3,500 jobs.

The Japanese firm told workers it proposed to close the vehicle manufacturing plant at the end of the current model's production life cycle.

A car transporter at the Honda plant in Swindon, which the company is planning to close with the loss of more than 3,000 jobs. Pic: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

The plant currently produces 150,000 cars a year.

Related: Union remains 'seriously concerned' over future employment at Sunderland's Nissan plantA statement said: "This proposal comes as Honda accelerates its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry.

"The significant challenges of electrification will see Honda revise its global manufacturing operations, and focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes."

Honda said under the proposed restructure, the current role of its UK manufacturing business (HUM) as a global manufacturing hub may no longer be viable.

There was no mention of Brexit in Honda's statement.