The last few days has seen a few updates on what happens next following the referendum. Theresa May has set out the government’s timeframe for triggering Article 50, which will take place by the end of March, 2017. Nissan’s CEO, Mr Carlos Ghosn, warned at the Paris Motor Show last week that the company will need compensation from the government to cover the costs of the UK leaving the EU before the company decides to continue investing in Sunderland. Yesterday, the new Chancellor, Philip Hammond officially abandoned the government’s commitment to a fiscal surplus by the end of this parliament, anticipating economic turbulence in the years ahead.
I welcome Mr Hammond’s proposal to invest more in key industries to boost the economy, which we have pressed for a long time including at the last election. He has promised £220m to help tech firms and secure some of the funding we currently receive from the EU. In Sunderland we have a booming software industry with many technology start-ups that have huge potential to bring more and better jobs to our area. On the other hand, the government still have not provided a clear plan of what UK’s trading relations with the EU will be – an issue so crucial for UK-based companies to make future investment decisions, such as Nissan on Wearside. In fact, the new Prime Minister's comments indicate that the government may not seek full access to the single market. The consequences of such a move would be devastating for the city.
Commenting on what Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn said at the Paris Motor Show, I told Sunderland Echo:
“Mr Ghosn’s comments on Nissan’s future investment in Sunderland were alarming.
“Making companies like Nissan wait around for more clarity is hugely risky for the thousands of people in our area whose jobs are on the line.
“But the prime minister has yet to elaborate on the ‘Brexit means Brexit’ platitude.
“Investment from companies such as Nissan is vital to our local economy.
“I urge ministers to offer businesses the assurances they need that the government will press for full access to the Single Market, and will do all they can to protect the jobs and livelihoods that depend on it.”
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