Labour questioned over lack of help for manufacturing

As workers at Nissan’s Sunderland plant began to come to terms with news of redundancies at the plant, the government has denied claims it was "picking winners and losers".

Questions have already been asked over the government’s apparent reluctance to offer manufacturing and engineering businesses the same support offered to city bankers.

Sunderland councillor Lee Martin said: "Right now we are in a position where the government picks winners and losers between banks and businesses and smaller firms. That is wrong. It should not matter if you are a major international business or a local shopkeeper, the end result should be the government makes it easier not harder to do business."

But Minister for the North East Nick Brown said the government was ready to help Wearside families hit by the job losses. "We and our agencies are going to do everything we can to help, there should be no doubt about that,” he said. "The Nissan industry in Sunderland has a future and I know we have a responsibility to help all of those who work in it at the moment."

Government chief whip Brown added that Nissan has, for many years, been a welcome inward investor in the region and predicted it would continue to be very important to the North East.

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