Nissan’s decision to build a new flagship vehicle in Japan rather than Sunderland is a huge blow to our city.
Although the primary reason is the downturn in the diesel car market, this is the first time Nissan have clearly stated that uncertainty around Brexit is impacting their business decisions.
This needs to be a wake-up call to government.
The promised local production of the X-Trail would have created more than 700 jobs. It is impossible to underestimate just what a great loss those jobs and future investment are.
Tens of thousands of people depend on Nissan for their livelihoods, both directly and through the supply chain. Sadly, any loss of future production at the plant makes it less stable.
This week in Parliament I asked the Secretary of State for Business what assurances he could give that local jobs would be secured post-Brexit. His answer, I’m afraid, promised little.
Nissan has been clear that continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping firms ‘plan for the future’, which is incredibly worrying. This is not just affecting Nissan, but the whole manufacturing industry.
Britain is getting ready to leave the EU within weeks and there is still no certainty, no assurances and no organisation. Businesses have no idea on what terms they will be able to trade.
The Brexit deal put forward by the Prime Minister will not secure manufacturing in Sunderland, the North East or the UK. That is why I did not vote for it.
If the Government’s deal passes, we will still face years of uncertainty and negotiations and that will put jobs and investment at risk not just at Nissan, but across the whole country.
Constant Brexit uncertainty is not conducive to encouraging business development. The Government is failing to give companies the assurances they need, and the people the job security they deserve.
This is just not sustainable. It is time for the Government to put the issue of Brexit back to the people, to let them decide on the future of their jobs, and the country.
The Sunderland plant is the most productive in Europe, at the forefront of green technologies. We must ensure the Government sorts this mess out to secure its future.
I will, of course, continue to do everything I can to protect current jobs, and will also urge the Government to intervene to protect the future of Nissan in Sunderland.