Washington MP writes to Theresa May to express concerns over Nissan's future in wake of X-Trail announcement

Sharon Hodgson has raised her concerns about Nissan's decision to axe the planned production of its new X-Trail model from its Wearside plan with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 5:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:06 pm
The Nissan factory in Washington was to welcome 740 new jobs with the production of the new X-Trail model, which will now be built in Japan.

The Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health has today written to the Prime Minister in order to outline key concerns around the car giant's decision to build the vehicle in Japan rather than in Washington as originally planned.

The Japanese firm revealed at the weekend that it has cancelled plans to build the new model at its Wearside plant - making a U-turn on its 2016 announcement.

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The Nissan factory employs 7,000 people, with thousands more working in the supply chain.

After considerable speculation over the weekend, this decision was confirmed by Nissan, and Mrs Hodgson says this has "undoubtedly caused much concern for the near 40,000 people who either work at the plant in Washington, or its supply chain."

The Nissan factory in Washington was to welcome 740 new jobs with the production of the new X-Trail model, which will now be built in Japan.

During a statement on Nissan by Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on Monday, Mrs Hodgson asked him what immediate steps the Government would be taking to reassure the UK Automotive Industry.

She has said no such assurances were provided during that statement, leading her to write directly to the Prime Minister asking her to confirm that any new application by Nissan for Government funding will be considered fairly, and independently to Rule out a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit and confirm when MPs will next get to vote on a re-negotiated deal, and reconsider the option of a negotiating a new customs union with the EU.

Mrs Hodgson said: "Many of my constituents will be hugely worried by this decision.

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, has written to Theresa May listing her concerns about the impact of Nissan's decision to build the X-Trail in Japan, instead of the plant in her constituency.

"Although no immediate jobs are at risk, it is a great shame that the 740 future positions that would have been brought to the plant in Washington have been lost.

"There were undoubtedly a number of factors that led to Nissan taking this decision including concerns around the transition away from diesel and falling sales of diesel vehicles.

"However, it is also clear that the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit had a role to play, and this was confirmed by Nissan in their initial statement.

"There are just 51 days to go until we are due to leave the EU, and businesses in this country are still no clearer on what trading arrangements we will have at that point.

"I’ve written to the Prime Minister in order to address some key concerns that I have around this decision and I look forward to them being answered as soon as possible."