Government letter to Nissan reveals no extra spending says top civil servant

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Nissan's decision to continue manufacturing in Sunderland saved 7,000 jobs (Source: Getty)

Nissan will not receive any more public money to keep production of its new Qashqai and X-trail models in Sunderland after Brexit, according to a top civil servant.

Amyas Morse, the head of the National Audit Office, said he had seen a government letter to Nissan, and that it contained no promises which would result in extra government spending.

“I am satisfied there is no identifiable contingent liability,” he said in a letter to Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, who chairs the Treasury Select Committee.

Read more: Senior Tory demands NAO to probe PM's Nissan talks

Greg Clark, the secretary of state for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) wrote to Nissan on 21 October, offering assurances that Brexit would not harm its business. However, the letter has not yet been made public.

The government has faced repeated calls for it to publish the letter. BEIS has not yet published the letter, citing a decision as to whether it would be in the “public interest”.

Tyrie has called for the letter to be put in the public domain. He said: “The letter that the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy sent to Nissan on 21st October should be put in the public domain immediately.

Read more: Nissan told tariff-free trade would be on the Brexit negotiating table

“The Government might have done better to do so from the outset,” he added.

Nissan’s plant in Sunderland – and its 7,000 jobs – became emblematic of the potential effects of leaving the EU after the referendum, with government scrambling to secure the Japanese carmaker’s investment. The EU asked for details of the deal under rules that make state aid illegal.

Morse also said that he had “received written assurances” that there were no other documents or promises that would commit the government to extra spending.

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