SOUTH Tyneside’s two Labour MPs have both expressed delight at a new multi-million pound business deal which is set to trigger a jobs bonanza in the borough.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the £87.5m City Deal package between South Tyneside and Sunderland on a visit to Wearside’s Nissan plant on Friday.
It includes a new manufacturing park to be built on land west of the A19, between Testo’s roundabout and Nissan, that will create 5,200 jobs when it is completed by 2027.
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and his South Shields counterpart Emma Lewell-Buck both share a sense of euphoria over the successful bid, especially as unemployment in the borough remains among the highest in the UK.
The new business park has particular significance for Mr Hepburn, as part of it will be sited in his constituency, as it incorporares land in West Boldon.
He said: “I’m delighted that this investment will help boost the North East economy.
“For many years our area has been hit hard by high unemployment and this multi-million pound investment is excellent news for the North East, creating thousands of highly-skilled jobs.” Mrs Lewell-Buck added: “This is fantastic news for our region, and I want to congratulate both local authorities for the work they’ve done negotiating this deal.
“This deal has the potential to create thousands of skilled jobs over the long term, and is a clear signal to investors that the Tyne and Wear region has the ambition to be a manufacturing powerhouse. Putting more power in the hands of regional decision-makers who understand their local area is the key to growing the North East economy.”
The City Deal, which the councils worked on with the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership (Nelep), also includes Government improvements to the A19 and finally gives the green light to the long-awaited new road bridge over the Wear – due to be completed by November 2017 – in addition to a new central business district on the Vaux site aimed at injecting fresh life into Sunderland city centre.
On top of the 5,200 jobs created in the manufacturing park, a further 3,200 are set to follow by 2031.
Paul Woolston, Nelep chairman, added: “This is great news for Sunderland, South Tyneside and the wider region.
“The business park will provide the benefits needed to compete globally in a competitive manufacturing environment.”