#Nissan announced in October that there was a risk to their factory based in Sunderland. The key issue was surrounding Brexit and the risks that leaving the EU could pose. But the UK government held talks with the Japanese car manufacturer and the Chief Executive said that he was ‘confident’ over assurances made to him by #Theresa May and her government.

Unfortunately, the government has been severely lacking over details given to the public about talks that will affect the public greatly.

Freedom of Information request

Reported in The Financial Times, they revealed that Nissan would have a shield against any #Brexit tariffs, but the rest of the ‘deal’ is unclear even after calls to clarify.

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I sent a FOI request to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to further clarify the government’s terms or ‘assurances’ given to Nissan.

In an email sent on 27th October, I stated:

“FOI Request on the Details of the Deal with Nissan

Please provide the details of the deal given to Nissan to keep the car manufacturer within the UK, including any clauses and sub-clauses. Also, include any financial help they may receive when Brexit does occur and when we leave the single market. Include any potential compensation from future tariffs, exemptions from trade barriers, and tax breaks.

Please provide the information electronically.”

The first reply was the confirmation they received the request, where it stated that “Your request is being considered under the terms of the FOI Act 2000 and we will reply at the latest by 24th November.” Which gave them 4 weeks to respond, but they did miss their deadline which prompted me to send them a tweet a month after receiving the initial reply.

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Their response

This tweet prompted them to respond the same day, where they claimed that “your email contains an enquiry rather than a request for recorded information held by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).” They continued “From our preliminary assessment, it is clear that we will not be able to answer your request without further clarification.”

They are avoiding answering the questions posed, by claiming that this is an enquiry rather than a request. They also ask “is there a particular document you are seeking?” The abstruse nature of the reply is designed to avoid answering the question, and I have recently replied to their request for clarification.

In an email sent on 21st December, I stated:

“To clarify I am looking for any documentation pertaining to my previous request. If no such documentation is available, then I would like to see any minutes of meetings with Nissan that may shed some light on the talks between the government and Nissan (I assume you are capable of handling something as simple as minutes of a meeting). The previous request was clear enough however, the avoidance of the giving any information out is apparent.

I expect a reply within the time you set yourselves this time, the original request is below as to remind you of the detail I seek.

FOI Request on the Details of the Deal with Nissan

Please provide the details of the deal given to Nissan to keep the car manufacturer within the UK, including any clauses and sub-clauses. Also, include any financial help they may receive when Brexit does occur and when we leave the single market. Include any potential compensation from future tariffs, exemptions from trade barriers, and tax breaks.

Please provide the information electronically"

The latest date they said they will respond is the 23rd of January, although, they have already proved that keeping to timetables is not their forte.

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