THE decision by car maker Nissan not to build its next-generation X-Trail car in Sunderland means 741 additional jobs will no longer be created, the Business Secretary Greg Clark has revealed.

Mr Clark was addressing the House of Commons over Nissan's announcement it would produce the SUV model in Kyushu, Japan, instead. The company cited uncertainty around Brexit, as well as new emissions regulations as being behind the decision.

Speaking tonight, Mr Clark said: “Nissan confirmed that production of the new Qashqai, Juke and Leaf will continue at Sunderland and there are no implications of the decision for existing jobs at the plant.

“They also pointed out what they’ve said consistently since 2016, that a risk of a no-deal Brexit is a source of damaging uncertainty.

“While I’m pleased the decision taken in 2016 to build the Qashqai and secure the Sunderland plant is unchanged, it’s deeply disappointing to me and to the workforce that the extra jobs that would have come from the X-Trail will no longer be available.

“While the decision was made on broader business grounds, Nissan commented on the need for us to come together and to resolve the question of our future trading relationship with the EU.”

Mr Clark’s statement came after he disclosed an offer of grants totalling £61 million was made to Nissan in June 2018, if the Japanese firm built new models at its UK plant. Mr Clark made the offer in |October 2016, a few months after the EU referendum.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said Nissan’s X-Trail announcement was a “bitter blow” to the North-East, the automotive sector and Britain’s industrial strategy.

She said: “Of course Brexit was not the only reason but it was pretty prominent in Nissan’s decision.”

Ms Long-Bailey added: “The Secretary of State’s quiet opposition to no-deal Brexit is of course well known but still the juggernaut of Government chaos hurtles on.

“Even he must be suitably frightened today by the uncertainty being created by his Government’s negotiating strategy.”

Meanwhile, officials from Unite met with management at the Sunderland plant and expressed their “anger and disappointment” over how the announcement over future production of the X-Trail was handled.

Unite official Steve Bush said a “great deal of anxiety” had been caused to the 7,000-strong workforce.

He said guarantees had been given that future production of the Juke and Qashqai models were not affected.

Mr Bush said: “Unite will continue to press for further long-term guarantees over future investment and new models to secure the site’s future for generations to come.

“What this whole sorry saga shows is that the sector-wide uncertainty caused by Brexit urgently needs to be addressed by ministers because it is draining the industry of skills, investment and new jobs.

"The Government also needs to get a grip and do more to support car workers and the industry in the transition away from diesel to alternatively powered vehicles.

“Trashing diesel while pulling the plug on grants which help people buy electric and alternatively powered vehicles serves only to confuse customers and the industry.”