Paul Williams MP: Nissan's announcement has given people a taste of the new Brexit reality
People in Stockton South might have voted to leave the EU, but when they send me down to Westminster every week, they want me to do everything I can to protect their jobs, says Paul Williams MP.
Nissan’s announcement that they will not be manufacturing the X-Trail in the North East is devastating for our region. The Prime Minister’s Brexit deal is cultivating a crisis of confidence in our economy and Nissan’s latest announcement has given people in our region a taste of the new Brexit reality.
The damage that this weekend’s announcement will cause is not just a concern for Nissan workers in Sunderland, it is a problem for people working for businesses further up the supply chain, including people in my constituency of Stockton South.
The Prime Minister insists on framing her deal as the only thing that can provide stability and prevent a cliff-edge ‘No Deal’ Brexit. But Theresa May’s bad deal would not end Brexit uncertainty if it were approved and we left the EU on March 29. The inherent uncertainty contained in the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration is as obvious as it is reckless. The deal will not bring jobs back to the North East and it will not provide the certainty that businesses in my Stockton South constituency tell me that they desperately need right now. Theresa May is putting her own party’s interest ahead of my constituents’ jobs.
Nifco, based in Eaglescliffe in my constituency, is a key part of the Nissan supply chain. It manufactures plastics for use in cars, employing about 620 staff. Approximately 35% of Nifco's order book is dedicated to Nissan and its partner Renault. All of the workers there know just how important the Sunderland factory is to the Nifco facility. For them, uncertainty is lingering over our economy and that is stifling business.
Nifco has called on the Government to formulate a plan, and quickly. They want to know what Brexit really means. This current political atmosphere is affecting confidence in the economy. It is making the UK an unattractive place to do business. As manufacturers, they are happy to take risks - that’s business - but they are desperate for certainty.
The North East is a world leader in car manufacturing, but this crisis of uncertainty being nurtured in Downing Street is already costing our region jobs in the industry.
This Government promised us that striking a trade deal with the European Union would be the easiest deal in history, but it turns out that the Prime Minister is now offering us a deal in which we cannot make our own trade deals at all. Meanwhile, Nissan announces jobs in Japan, a country which has just sparked its own trade deal with the EU. You couldn’t make it up.
Exports are a key part of the North East economy. Global trade is what keeps the North East economy going, but we already know that the Tories do not care about protecting people’s jobs in the North East. They never have.
No form of Brexit is better than the deal we already have as members of the European Union. Theresa May’s bad Brexit will be as damaging for our region’s economy as when Mrs Thatcher shut down our collieries. People in Stockton South might have voted to leave the EU, but when they send me down to Westminster every week, they want me to do everything I can to protect their jobs.
Paul Williams is Labour MP for Stockton South.