OK. It’s official. My MP thinks we’re stupid. He thinks we don’t realise how transparent, how utterly ridiculous the Sunderland Nissan deal is. He thinks we’ll all accept it as a benefit of Brexit when in reality the exact opposite is true. This Nissan deal is a shining example of the huge damage that Brexit has done not just to the people of Sunderland, not only to the British automotive industry but to the British economy as a whole.
Let’s look at the facts…
Nissan has announced a £1bn investment in the North East to build electric cars and the batteries they need to work. This has resulted in the creation of around 900 new jobs. How cool is that?
Well… not very cool at all to be fair. Sunderland has already lost around 1500 jobs in the short time since Brexit leaving a shortfall of 600 jobs. The country as a whole has seen the loss of around 10,000 jobs in the automotive industry since we actually left in 2020.
Still, at least Nissan is investing in UK, right?
As it happens Nissan never confirmed that it would leave anyway. It just said that it would remain here if other big car manufacturers didn’t because then it could have a bigger slice of the domestic market. With other manufacturers casting all those jobs the market is wide open for Nissan and so they’re staying, just as they always planned to. So that’s hardly a Brexit benefit – a foreign firm chooses to stay so it can pick over the bones of a shrinking market.
But would we have had this plant without Brexit? Well – maybe not. You see Elon Musk had planned to build a much bigger version of the same thing in UK with a much larger workforce until concerns about Brexit drove them away to Germany. Their Berlin plant is expected to operate at around 6 times the capacity of our, smaller Sunderland operation. And the Elon Musk plant wouldn’t have cost us a penny – it would have been true investment backed by the EU.
The Nissan plant comes with a government bribe. £100 million pounds of taxpayer money has sweetened the deal even though Nissan has already said it would remain in UK if others left – which they have. Not only that, Sunderland council has had to stump up another 80 million. That’s a total of 180 million pounds paid to a foreign company whose profits are taken out of the country. That’s hardly a Brexit benefit either.
But Mark Jenkinson MP (and presumably everyone who still thinks Brexit was a good idea) would have us believe it’s all good.
The people of Sunderland, along with the government have been forced to pay 300,000 pounds per head for their 600 unemployed car workers to lose their jobs and not a penny of that will go back into unemployment benefits or retraining schemes. That money has been lost to the UK because of Brexit – so have all those jobs.
So why did we agree to this awful deal?
The answer to that is obvious.
This is the government’s way of pretending that Brexit wasn’t actually a disaster.