Nissan & the minister’s secret letter
The political fur and feathers are still flying following Nissan’s announcement yesterday that it would continue to invest in it’s manufacturing facilities in the UK.
The Times newspaper is running a lead story today claiming that Ministers were forced to give a last-minute written promise to protect Nissan from the consequences
The Times claims that letter was sent after a stand-off when Nissan warned the government it would not invest in Britain unless it received a high-level written guarantee.
Greg Clark, the business secretary said on last night’s Question Time :
There’s no chequebook. I don’t have a chequebook.
But of course, one thing is a cheque and another is the likely cost of what Nissan was asking for, a guarantee of financial compensation in the event of tariffs being imposed on it’ exports to Europe once the Brexit deal is finally done, or unravels at the end of the two year negotiating period.
Nissan produced 475,000 vehicles in Sunderland last year, with 80% of those vehicles being exported to the EU. 380,000 vehicles at an average price of £10,000 with a 10% WTO tariff means that the UK could be on the line for £380 million with Nissan’s exports alone.
Whose next in line?
Unsurprisingly, other car manufacturers in the UK were also quick to request the same sweetheart deal that Nissan appears to have achieved.