UK government reiterates commitment to manufacturing
A minister reiterated the UK government's commitment to British manufacturing today.
He was there to see some of the first Nissan JUKE's roll off the Wearside production line and hear the firm announce it was committing to taking on an extra 75 apprentices over the next five years.
Addressing Nissan staff, Mr Hayes said: "The Government is totally committed to supporting British manufacturing. Manufacturing matters and because manufacturing matters so much, engineering matters, skills matter and apprenticeships matter."
Mr Hayes said the coalition had put an extra £150 million into the apprenticeships budget with the aim of creating 50,000 more apprenticeships across the country.
"We believe apprenticeships should be at the very centre of our skills policy and the commitment I made publicly I repeated in our meetings today, is that those companies that take on apprenticeships and give opportunities to people will get the backing of the Government," he said.
"The significance of today, the significance of Nissan, the significance of JUKE is well understood by me and well understood by the Government."
Nissan has invested £57 million to produce the JUKE - a new crossover car - at Sunderland. The previous Government also helped by awarding the plant a £6.2 million grant.
The JUKE replaces production of the popular Micra, which has transferred overseas, and it safeguards 1,100 jobs at the plant. Around 100,000 models will roll off the production line in Wearside, Trevor Mann, senior vice president of manufacturing, said.
"JUKE provides a much needed breath of fresh air within the small car segment and will play a key role in defining the Nissan brand in the years ahead," he said.
"Congratulations to the Sunderland workforce for earning the right to produce what is their sixth new model in eight years. I would like to thank both national and local government for their support, as well as the continued efforts of our all suppliers."
The plant will ramp up to full production volume shortly to ensure dealers are fully stocked ready in time for the start of sales in late September. Pricing for the JUKE will start from £12,795.