THOUSANDS of North-East jobs have moved closer after the signing of two City Deals.

Business leaders say agreements for Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU) and Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council will create more than 8,000 jobs and attract £300m private sector investment.

City Deals aim to give cities and councils greater powers to take responsibility for decisions in their area, decide how public money should be spent and help businesses grow.

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The TVU deal aims to deliver 3,500 supply chain jobs, support a further 800 posts, and bring in more than £10m investment.

It also wants to make the North-East as a pioneer in carbon capture and storage, using energy from industries to heat businesses, homes, hospitals and council buildings.

If a team of engineers can prove it works, it will be the first of its kind in the UK, and one of only a handful worldwide.

Stephen Catchpole, TVU managing director, said: “City Deal is an important part of Tees Valley’s economic development jigsaw.

“It gives greater control over our economic destiny by enhancing our ability to attract private investment, boost skills and create jobs.

“By empowering Tees Valley to influence Government policies to meet specific needs, it will complement other economic initiatives already being delivered and enable the area to capitalise on emerging markets, innovation and new green technologies.”

The bid from Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council includes plans for a new business park west of the A19, which is expected to create more than 5,000 posts and secure £295m private sector investment.

Bosses say it has the potential to match the impact of Nissan, which now employs about 7,000 North-East workers after moving to Wearside in 1986.

The business park, which will be near Nissan’s factory, will provide bases for automotive, offshore and technology firms, bolstering the region's reputation for manufacturing and exports.

The deal, which the councils worked on with the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership (Nelep), also includes Government improvements to the A19 and confirmation that £82.5m will go towards the new Wear bridge project.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is a very significant moment for Sunderland, for South Tyneside and the wider North-East.

“The Government recognises how the City Deal is going to be a catalyst for future economic growth.

“This park and its regeneration benefits will be seen and felt across the whole North-East and indeed the country.

“There is pent-up demand for more manufacturing jobs in our region and especially around the crucial A19 corridor through Sunderland and South Tyneside.”