British MPs 'deeply troubled' by Nissan UK investment reports

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Nissan will be forced to reapply for £61m of taxpayer support after backtracking on a promise to built its X-Trail SUV in Sunderland. Our North of England Correspondent Clare Fallon has spent the day outside the UK's largest vehicle plant.

"The continued uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the European Union is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future, ' Nissan's Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said in a statement, after explaining that keeping production in Japan would reduce "upfront investment costs.' The decision was quickly seized upon by anti-Brexit MPs and campaigners, and places further pressure on May as she seeks to salvage her withdrawal agreement with the European Union and pass it through parliament".

According to Sky News, the company will confirm the move to cancel plans to build the new version of the SUV on Monday, just 53 days before Britain is scheduled to leave the EU.

Prime Minister Theresa May was gathering pro-Brexit and pro-EU Conservative lawmakers into an "alternative arrangements working group" seeking to break Britain's Brexit deadlock.

Nissan had pledged to manufacture the new SUV model in the United Kingdom four months after the referendum - a move seen as a major vote of confidence in the country's manufacturing outside the EU.

"Nissan has increased its investments in new powertrains and technology for its future European vehicles", the firm said.

Truss insisted that the "threat of no deal" must be maintained to get the European Union "on board" and also because it's already helping to bring Parliament closer to a consensus. Sharon Hodgson, the MP for Washington and Sunderland West, remembers the rush of optimism when Nissan arrived in the 80s, bringing hope to a region of closing mines and stalled shipbuilding.

The government is apparently considering pulling a reported £60m support package for Nissan as a result of the news.

Ministers had offered Nissan 60 million pounds in a bid to attract the investment. "Clearly we will be reviewing it in the light of this decision", a government source told the newspaper.

"The new jobs and apprenticeships that the X-Trail would have led to are desperately needed in the local economy and our priority now is to ensure that investment commitments are upheld and that Nissan at Sunderland has the bright future this loyal and skilled workforce deserves". Although it also stressed that other future models planned for Nissan Sunderland plant - the next-generation Juke and Qashqai - remain unaffected.

Sunderland's production of the Qashqai, Juke, Leaf and Infiniti models fell 11 percent in 2018, reflecting the wider United Kingdom slump.

Furthermore, the Japanese auto makers have been encouraged to invest in Britain because of its membership of the single market.

The short answer is that it's likely down to a number of things, but there's no doubt Brexit has been significant.

The Japanese carmaker will continue to produce the X-Trail in Kyushu.

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