Theresa May hailed Nissan’s decision to stay put in Sunderland and build its new Qashqai and X-Trail models at its plant in the north-east as a ‘vote of confidence’ in the UK. But was this just the PM drumming up the deal or is it really such good news for Britain?
The Times suggests the agreement may have come at a price. The newspaper says a ‘written promise’ was made to the company that it wouldn’t lose out from Brexit. Some have said it smacks of a sweetheart deal between the Government and the carmaker – something business secretary Greg Clarke, who insisted no cheque book was waved at the car giant, has denied. While there is some uncertainty about exactly what the ‘assurances’ given to Nissan were though, The Times says we should focus on the positives.
In its editorial, the paper agrees that Nissan’s decision is ‘good news for the industry and a victory for the Government’. It says that Ministers clearly said ‘the right thing’ to salve the Japanese car giant’s worries. But the Times does say that other car makers ‘will want whatever Nissan got’, suggesting Toyota and Honda – who make 320,000 cars in Britain between them – might be among those who leave the taxpayer with a big bill if they knock on Downing Street’s door demanding parity. While there are clearly challenges ahead, however, the paper says the fact the Government cleared this hurdle is ‘encouraging’. And along with healthy growth figures yesterday it shows there are glimmers of hope on the ‘tortuous road’ ahead.
Nissan’s decision to stay put in Sunderland is a ‘huge vote of confidence’ in Britain says the Daily Mail, which almost precisely echoes the words of Theresa May. It says the carmaker’s decision is part of a pattern of recent good news including low unemployment, healthy retail figures and yesterday’s numbers showing that the British economy grew by 0.5 per cent in the last quarter. ‘The Mail is not naïve enough to believe there aren’t many daunting challenges’, the paper says, but it points out that the economy looks to be in ‘good shape’ – in contrast to the experts who predicted the opposite in the wake of the vote for Brexit. It accuses David Cameron and George Osborne of ‘lamentable errors of judgment’. But although the pair might now be long gone, the Mail says the damage done by some Remainers lingers. It says despite the Project Fear campaign rapidly unravelling – as shown by yesterday’s glimmers of economic prosperity – the doom mongering touted by the Remain campaign could well have damaged for good Brits’ already limited trust in politics and the Government.
The Daily Telegraph agrees. The paper says that yesterday’s news about Nissan and Britain’s healthy GDP puts the lie to two of the ‘direst’ predictions made by the ‘in’ campaign. It says that, on both counts, the ‘doom mongers’ have been confounded. But the Telegraph goes on to take a softer line towards the ‘Remainers’, suggesting the resilience of Britain’s economy should now act as an incentive for the country to pull together. The paper says, too, that Nissan’s decision is an example to other companies who might have initially not welcomed news of the vote for Brexit. It says the carmaker is ‘showing the way for the rest’ and urges the country to unite to get ‘the best possible deal’ for Britain and ‘support the Government in its efforts’