A NEW North-East City Deal will help build on the region's stellar manufacturing reputation and keep the area at the forefront of export markets, deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said.
Mr Clegg says the bid from Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council will create more than 5,000 jobs, replicating the success of Nissan's Sunderland plant.
The deal includes a new business park next to the Japanese car maker's record-breaking Wearside plant, which is expected to secure £295m private sector investment from automotive, offshore and technology firms.
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About £5m will go towards the new international manufacturing park, with Government improvements to the A19 and £82.5m for the new Wear bridge project.
City Deals give cities and councils greater powers to take responsibility for decisions and decide how public money should be spent to help businesses thrive.
Mr Clegg yesterday (Friday, March 14), visited Nissan's plant to see its impact on the North-East's economy, and hailed the City Deal as being equally pivotal to the region.
He said: “This builds on the success of Sunderland's car industry and is a tribute to the workers in the region who are exporting models right across Europe.
“It will build on that success with an advanced manufacturing park to boost the local supply chain, attract further investment and revitalise local businesses and craftsmen, harnessing local skills.”
The manufacturing park is expected to open in 2027, with a new business district being built on the former Vaux brewery site.
James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said the deal would add to the region's growing economic foundations.
He said: “This is the right project at the right time in the right area and will provide another boost to an economy that has stabilised over the last year and is now showing genuine signs of growth.
“The area has earned this City Deal through hard work and innovation.
“It’s automotive industry and supply chain are regional manufacturing powerhouses and key drivers for our continued success in export markets.
“This project has the potential to create over 5,000 jobs over the next decade so is vitally important to our future economic growth.”