A potential £80m government support package for Nissan was contingent on the car manufacturer building its X-Trail car at its Sunderland plant, it emerged this afternoon.
The government today published the letter from business secretary Greg Clark that convinced Nissan to keep production in the UK in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, revealing that the minister offered up to £80m in government initiatives.
The financial support would take the form of skills, R&D and innovation, Clark said.
However, he added: “It [the figure] is contingent too on a positive decision by the Nissan Board to allocate production of the Qashqai and X-Trail models to the Sunderland plant.”
Nissan confirmed over the weekend that it will pull out of plans to build its new X-Trail model at its Sunderland plant, moving production to Japan instead.
That decision led the Treasury select committee to press the government into revealing what assurances it offered Nissan to stay in 2016, after the Times this morning reported that Whitehall would pull a £60m package from the industry titan if it moved production to Japan.
“We are already working with your UK team on a package of support in areas such as skills, R&D and innovation,” Clark told then-Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn in October 2016.
“Work continues but I understand this could amount to additional support of up to £80m.”
Other key pledges he made include:
Sunderland infrastructure improvements
“I know that increased localisation of supply chains is a key issue for Nissan. We will work closely with you to boost that for Sunderland."
That includes financial support for the manufacturing park:
"Together with the additional £80 million provided for a new bridge over the Wear, and Enterprise Zone extension for land adjacent to the Nissan plant from April 2017, this will continue to support a more efficient supply chain, closely attuned to Nissan’s business needs."
Ease of exporting to and from the EU
“The government fully recognises the significance of the EU market to your presence in Sunderland. It will be a critical priority of our negotiation to support UK car manufacturers and ensure that their ability to export to and from the EU is not adversely affected by the UK's future relationship with the EU.”
Investment in electric car charging points
“I know we share the same ambition on electric vehicles. We established the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to support the early market for ULEVs and have committed more than £600 million between 2015 and 2020 to this aim.
“OLEV offers one of the most comprehensive programmes of support in the world, helping to make electric cars more affordable and easier to use. Through the plug-in car grant, £4,500 is automatically deducted off the price of a new Nissan LEAF, and we continue to prioritise zero emission vehicles in the tax system. The charging infrastructure continues to expand; over 11,000 publically accessible charge-points are available and rapid chargers are in place at 96% of motorway services in England and Wales.”