UNION leaders who claim the North-East is “haemorrhaging” manufacturing jobs have called on the Government to invest in industry.

A study by the GMB has shown that 36,000 jobs in the sector disappeared from 2006 to 2016, a fall of 22 per cent.

It said the lost jobs have meant the region has seen £550m less paid in manufacturing wages.

Billy Coates, GMB regional secretary, said: “We should cherish our manufacturing sector, but instead successive governments have driven it into the ground through a lack of investment and tendering processes that hamper our homegrown businesses.

“Manufacturing wages are 20 per cent higher than the national average, and the sector is a keystone of the wider economy. These are jobs worth fighting for.

“Instead the Northern Powerhouse is being left to rack and ruin - and if this sad decline is not addressed then the next generation in the North-East will surely pay the price.”

However, speaking of the current political environment in the country, a North-East university lecturer described the UK’s manufacturing sector as “strong”.

Dr Christos Tsinopoulos, senior lecturer in operations and project management at Durham University Business School, said: “It is

encouraging to see that developing and implementing a coherent industrial strategy remains one of the key intentions of Whitehall.

“It would be great to see more initiatives that support those elements that have made the supply chain strong.”