On 5th February 2019 Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, Bishop of Lincoln, responded to a Government Statement about the Nissan Car Factory in Sunderland, on behalf of the Bishop of Durham:
The Lord Bishop of Lincoln: My Lords, I have been asked by my right reverend friend the Bishop of Durham, who is detained in his diocese, to ask the following question. While he recognises the promised protection of existing jobs, does the Minister recognise that Nissan’s X-Trail announcement will inevitably cause real worry for existing staff about the sustainability of their jobs, both at Nissan and in the supply chain?
Will the Minister say how Her Majesty’s Government intend to allay such concerns at local level and what they might do to encourage Nissan to invest more in the development of electric cars and autonomous vehicles?
Lord Henley: I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate for asking that question and for underlining the obvious concerns of all people living in Sunderland, Durham and the wider north-east, including the 7,000workers at Nissan and the 35,000 people supported in the supply chain. We will continue to talk to all concerned; we want to allay those fears. We are very grateful that Nissan continues to be committed to that site. It has made enormous investments there over the last 30-plus years. As the right reverend Prelate stressed, we will also continue to make investments in R&D and new technologies in other fields. The automotive industry is changing, and what we have all been saying about diesel holds true. There will be a decline in diesel sales, but we hope to see a greater take-up in others.