UK senior lawmakers call on government to release Toyota investment reassurances

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LONDON (July 17): The British government should reveal what post-Brexit reassurances it offered Japanese carmaker Toyota ahead of a £240-million (US$313 million) investment in its English car plant, two parliamentary committees said on Monday.

On Friday, Reuters reported that Britain had helped to secure an investment in the firm's Burnaston car plant with a letter reassuring the Japanese automaker over future trading arrangements, according to two sources.

The business ministry has confirmed the existence of a letter but refused to release it.

One of the sources said the letter to Toyota was similar to one sent to Japanese carmaker Nissan last year when it decided to build two new models at its northern English plant.

"To provide clarity to the public, as the assurances may cost the taxpayer money, and to other businesses, who are craving certainty to plan for Brexit, the letters should be published immediately," Nicky Morgan, the chairwoman of the Treasury Select Committee, said in an emailed statement.

"It is vital that the government is not seen to be cutting sweetheart deals or granting special favours that could undermine our negotiating position," the chairwoman of parliament's Business Select Committee, opposition Labour lawmaker Rachel Reeves, said in a separate statement.

A business ministry spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Business minister Greg Clark said last year that assurances offered to Nissan were available to other firms.

A Toyota spokesman declined to comment on Monday when contacted by Reuters.

He referred to the company's statement from the day of the March 16 investment announcement which said the British government was providing up to £21.3 million in funding for training and research and development.

Toyota also said at the time that "continued tariff-and-barrier free market access... will be vital for future success."