Nissan deal has created a financial nightmare for UK taxpayers. Thanks for nothing, Tories!

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn received assurances from the prime minister that the carmaker would be shielded from the impact of Brexit [Montage: FT/Getty].

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn received assurances from the prime minister that the carmaker would be shielded from the impact of Brexit [Montage: FT/Getty].

It’s looking as though Anna Soubry was right and Nissan was indeed offered a ‘sweetener’ deal to stay in the UK after Brexit.

It seems certain that other firms will rush to secure similar assurances – that would leave the Treasury, and the hard-working UK citizens the Tories are so fond of praising, seriously out of pocket.

It seems the Conservative Government under Theresa May is unsafe wherever it goes.

If it denies any further ‘sweeteners’ to other multinational firms, they may pack their bags and head for the continent.

If it gives in, then not only will it seem weak but it will also create a spending commitment that taxpayers will struggle to meet.

So a deal that the Tories were touting as a huge victory only two days ago now stands revealed as a monumental mess.

Still, it’s a rosy result for Nissan and company director Carlos Ghosn, who will build two new models at a plant in Sunderland from 2019.

These are the X-trail and the Qashqai – although Mr Ghosn may wish to consider renaming the latter.

In the light of recent events, ‘Cash Cow’ seems more appropriate.

Nissan warned the British government that the carmaker would wind down UK operations if it was not guaranteed competitive trading conditions with Europe, according to two people involved in negotiations over future investment in its Sunderland plant.

During talks that led to a meeting between Theresa May and Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, the Japanese carmaker said it was prepared to shift production to its Spanish and French factories in a move that would lead to the closure of its British plant and other UK sites.

Government assurances offered to Nissan led to its decision this week to locate two new cars at the plant from 2019, safeguarding more than 30,000 jobs at the site and in its supply chain.

Sunderland’s closure would have caused a political tidal wave and set a precedent for other carmakers to locate future work outside Britain.

Rival carmakers are now demanding the same assurances offered to Nissan to shield them from the impact of Brexit. While technology and pharmaceuticals companies are prioritising visas for skilled workers, other exporters including chemicals manufacturers have set tariff-free access to the EU as a priority.

The prime minister’s office faces calls from Labour to disclose details of its exact pledges to Nissan, including the contents of a letter written by Greg Clark, the business secretary, to Nissan’s executive committee in Japan.

According to several people familiar with the contents of the letter, it contains the same assurances that were offered to Mr Ghosn by the prime minister — namely that the carmaker would face no change in its trading conditions following Britain’s exit from the EU.

Source: Nissan warned government on fate of Sunderland without deal

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6 thoughts on “Nissan deal has created a financial nightmare for UK taxpayers. Thanks for nothing, Tories!

  1. jaguarjon

    Is this how May-hem’s ‘secret’ negotiations work? The secret technique is ‘whatever you want, whatever you need’, the status quo is maintained regardless of expense. We are going to get wrung out by super-corporations and the EU.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I like your reference to the Status Quo song. At least we get a good soundtrack to put over the story when we run it on the news.

  2. Barry Davies

    There is nothing in this to prove any “sweeteners” have been given, of course large companies are asking about the situation, but it is not really possible to give any assurances, whatever that may mean in this situation. Anna Soubry of course is a dyed in the wool remainer, and as we have seen since the start of the campaign the propaganda lies and misdirections for remain have always been the basis of their campaign and they have continued with this failed idea ever since, maybe some concrete evidence rather than a claim from this woman would be better.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There is evidence to show Nissan was going to move if ‘sweeteners’ weren’t provided – and now Nissan is staying.
      The Conservative government is not being straight with the public about what happened, and is trying to deny information to other parties with a legitimate interest in knowing the facts, so there is certainly evidence to suggest that something happened that is being hidden from us.
      Ms Soubry’s comments were a curiosity yesterday – but, as more information becomes available, she becomes more and more believable.
      Propaganda, lies and misdirection have been the basis of the Leave campaign, rather than Remain, whose predictions are coming true.

  3. Sven Wraight

    “according to two people involved in negotiations over future investment in its Sunderland plant.” I’m a little tempted to say if they aren’t on the record, the FT just made it up! However, as it makes sense such a sordid backroom deal might happen, I feel obliged to point out to Ms May (a regular reader if she’s smart) that if we’re paying Nissan once to make their cars, how many of us are going to have the money to then actually buy one?

Comments are closed.