'Why is secret Brexit deal no longer good enough for Nissan?' ask Labour after X-Trail blow for Sunderland plant

Nissan's confirmation that it will be making the next-generation X-Trail in Japan rather than Sunderland has been described as 'a blow to Britain's industrial strategy'.

Sunday, 3rd February 2019, 16:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 16:12 pm
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, top right, says the Government, and Business Secretary Greg Clark, bottom left, have some questions to answer about the secret deal offered to Nissan.

The comments came from Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, after the car-maker confirmed it has done a U-turn on a previous pledge to make the SUV in the UK.

She said: "This is a blow not only to future investment in Sunderland, but also to Britain's industrial strategy.

"As Nissan stated, continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping businesses plan for the future.

"The Government's chaotic handling of Brexit has been the root cause of business uncertainty.

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"There are serious questions that the Government must now answer on Monday - not least what was in the secret Brexit deal it issued to Nissan and why this was no longer good enough."

Business Secretary Greg Clark admitted: "Nissan's announcement is a blow to the sector and the region, as this was to be a further significant expansion of the site and the workforce.

"The company has confirmed that no jobs will be lost. They have reiterated today their commitment to the UK by continuing to manufacture in Sunderland the current Qashqai, Leaf and Juke models and the new Qashqai model from 2020.

"The UK automotive industry is a vital sector for the British economy which draws on our combination of rich automotive heritage and cutting-edge innovation.

"Its role in providing high skilled well-paid jobs, innovative R&D and investment is why we are determined to build on these strengths to make the UK a leader in the next generation of autonomous and electric vehicles through the Automotive Sector Deal, as part of our modern Industrial Strategy."

The Business Secretary said in October 2016 that Nissan was given four assurances "to give them confidence to continue investing in the UK".

This included continued support for the competitiveness of the automotive sector through investment in skills and training the local workforce, and a commitment to research and development, in particular the take-up of ultra-low emission vehicles.