BARRATT Homes North East will start work on four new developments in Newcastle, Durham and Burnopfield over the next six months.

Together the schemes will provide 228 homes with a total sales value of £65m and support about 450 jobs, the housebuilder said. The firm predominantly employs local sub-contractors and tradesmen, so local businesses and people will benefit directly.

Fenton Hewitt, a sales director at Barratt North East, said: “The Prime Minister has said again and again that one of the best ways to boost economic growth and get people working is through building more homes.

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“The plans we are announcing today show exactly how that theory works in practice. The new sites will provide much-needed new homes for local people at a time when there is a chronic shortage of housing.

"In addition to the local construction jobs underpinned in building the new homes, the local people who move into the new housing will also spend their wages locally.

“This translates into a significant boost for local retailers at a time when concerns remain about the national financial picture. It's exactly what the region needs."

The housebuilder will start work on new developments under its Barratt and David Wilson Homes brands, including 61 homes at Mount Oswald, Durham City.