Last week, we commented on the news that Nissan has decided to increase investment in its Sunderland plant.
Many had expected the carmaker to deliver on earlier warnings that referendum-induced uncertainty would lead to a scaling back of its UK manufacturing activities, so its decision to commit to the UK has prompted relief but also speculation over exactly what assurances the firm has been given by the government – particularly around what might happen if the UK government fails to secure tariff-free access to the European single market.
In last week’s poll we invited readers to indulge in this speculation and consider what the deal might mean for the rest of industry.
The poll received 621 votes and, as the chart below shows, reflected a broad range of views on the issue.
The biggest response group – 37 per cent of voters – felt that whatever reassurances government has given Nissan, it must now do the same for other businesses in other sectors. Only a relatively small proportion of respondents (6 per cent) felt that the automotive sector should be afforded special treatment. If the government fails to secure to access to the single market, and has – as many suspect – provided some assurances that it will compensate Nissan for trade tariffs, this could prove to be a very expensive option for the British taxpayer.
The next largest group (29 per cent of respondents) were overtly sceptical about the deal and felt that the government has probably made promises that it won’t be able to keep, whilst 23 per cent of those voting held the opposite view and felt that the deal represented a vote of confidence in post-Brexit Britain.
5 per cent of respondents selected the “none of the above” the option.
Only time will tell which group was closest to the mark, but it’s an issue that we will continue to follow in the months and years ahead.