Monday, 31 October 2016 18:02

UK GOV must publish secret Nissan letter

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The UK Government must publish their secret letter to Nissan assuring the company about a continued place in Europe’s single market for its Sunderland manufacturing plant.

Business Secretary Greg Clark confirmed on the Andrew Marr Show that he had written to the car manufacturer to offer them guarantees on how tariff-free trade could be maintained from the North-east of England base – despite contradictory UK Government statements about there being no possibility of special arrangements for Scotland.
The SNP has now submitted a Freedom of Information request to obtain the letter, given the clear public interest in the immediate publication of the correspondence.
It has been reported the car manufacturer received commitments of unconditional investment aid and further relief if Brexit ended up damaging the performance of the Sunderland plant, but full details of the deal remain unclear.
Commenting, SNP MSP Richard Lochhead said:
“It is simply unacceptable that the UK Government is conducting backroom Brexit deals with multinational companies at the same time as they are keeping the public and devolved governments in the dark.
“People will naturally be relieved if jobs are being secured – but other industries will now expect similar guarantees, as why would this be a one-off sweetheart deal? And if a special deal can be found for the North-east of England, what reason is there not to find a flexible solution for Scotland?
“Sunderland voted overwhelmingly to leave Europe while Scotland voted decisively to remain – so if the Tories are only prepared to be flexible for places like Sunderland while ignoring Scotland’s democratic voice, it would be an outrage.
“The SNP is submitting a Freedom of Information request to have this secret Nissan letter made public – but the Tories could and should do the right thing and publish this themselves without having it dragged out of them.
“It’s completely unsustainable for the UK Government to remain silent on this – it is absolutely essential we have full disclosure and that they publish this correspondence as a matter of urgency.”