Giving Power Back to North Car Workers; Japanese Car Giant Nissan Has Announced Plans to Make a Huge Investment in the Company's Washington Factory to Build Batteries for Electric Cars. It Was Hailed by Gordon Brown as a "Great Day for the North East". So Why Should We Be So Excited about the News?

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What happened? Nissan has announced a pounds 200 million investment to make batteries for electric cars in Washington. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson were on Wearside yesterday to meet with Nissan staff and confirm that the Government will provide financial support on top of Nissan's investment. However, they could not put a figure on the extent of their contribution.

What does it mean for the region?

The North East will be leading the way in creating electric cars in the UK. Gordon Brown went as far to say yesterday that the Washington plant would be a "centre of excellence", leading the way for the rest of the world.

Mr Brown said: "So the message from the North East is, just as you led the way in the transport and industrial revolution, so too you are now leading the way with the low-carbon revolution of the future.

"I know as a country we face challenges. The question often asked of me is 'Where are the jobs of the future going to come from?' "People are answering that question here at Nissan today." Does it mean electric cars will be created here?

Not necessarily but the chances are very good. Nissan's senior vice-president for manufacturing, Europe, Trevor Mann, said it was not a given that Washington would be manufacturing electric cars. However, he did say the announcement about battery production was a significant step forward giving them a slight advantage over the competition when it comes to manufacturing vehicles. …

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