Government calms Nissan fears with pledge of 'common rulebook' on UK-EU trade

The Government has vowed to keep the UK as "one of the most competitive locations in the world for automotive manufacturing" after Brexit.

The comments come after a warning from Nissan that a so-called hard Brexit will have "serious implications" for its plant in Sunderland.

Nissan employs around 8,000 people in the UK.

Nissan employs around 8,000 people in the UK.

Eight thousand people are employed by Nissan in the UK, with thousands of these based at the Sunderland factory.

Read more: 19 things you said about Nissan's warning over post-Brexit future of Sunderland car plant

The Japanese firm said that Britain crashing out of the EU's single market and customs union would be "detrimental" to its operation.

But the Government has reassured the company that its "top priority" is to secure a future economic relationship with the EU.

Related content: Nissan warns of hard Brexit risk to Sunderland plant

A Government spokeswoman said: "As we have always said, our top priority is to agree an ambitious future economic relationship with the EU, and we are confident that this is the most likely outcome of negotiations.

"The government is determined to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations in the world for automotive and other advanced manufacturing.

"Our proposals make plans for a UK-EU free trade area underpinned by a common rulebook on industrial goods.

"However, a responsible government should prepare for all potential outcomes, including the unlikely scenario in which no mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached and that is exactly what we are doing."

More on Nissan: Warning on Brexit should set alarm bells ringing, says Sunderland MP

Japanese firms have been among the most vocal when expressing fears over Brexit, with Panasonic the latest to announce plans to shift its European headquarters out of the UK.

Speaking in the wake of Nissan's warning yesterday, Sunderland's MPs called on the Government to negotiate a better Brexit deal, and give the public a vote on whatever the deal is.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said: "We will not stand by whilst our constituents’ livelihoods are gambled with by this reckless Government.

“No matter how people voted in 2016, they did not vote to be worse off."