THERE isn’t a downside to the multi-million pound investment in the Nissan factory at Sunderland, which will create 1,600 jobs directly and another 4,500 in the supply chain.

Nissan is crucial to the North-East economy and, thanks to our Brexit deal which encourages cars to be made with home-built components, it is clearly here to stay. That is fantastic news.

It would be interesting to know how much Government money has gone into the announcement, but it has to be right that the British government uses its muscle to support British jobs. That is why it is curious that not more has been done in the last decade to support, say, the steel industry.

As well as being great news for Nissan and its suppliers, the announcement brings Britain’s aim to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 a step nearer to fulfilment. But, electric cars still have to become genuinely affordable, as the Prime Minister admitted yesterday, and we still have to design a charging network – if every house in one of our North-East terraces is to be served by an electric car, are there going to be hundreds of cables stretching across pavements?

Nissan’s news is, though, a big vote of confidence in the North-East and its workers and suppliers, and in the position of the UK as a whole.