South Tyneside Council boss Iain Malcolm says a huge business park planned for the borough will be good for people’s health.
The council leader claims quality jobs with good pay leads to better health as he made the case for more employment opportunities for South Tyneside residents.
Figures given to a meeting of the council’s health and wellbeing board revealed unemployment rates had fallen by 30% since 2011 from 12% to 8.4% in 2016.
Despite the drop, the council says it still needs to do more as it looks to increase employment by creating opportunities.
Coun Malcolm said: “Economic wellbeing is just as important as health wellbeing. Having access to good schools, employment, well paid jobs, nice homes, - it all leads to a good life balance.
“Unless they have got good jobs it does start to affect health.”
We want South Tyneside residents to get the full benefit of the new jobs at this site.Coun Malcolm
Figures show that - since 2009/10 - 5,900 more people are in work, 1,600 new homes have been built in the area since 2010 and 93% of primary school and 89% of secondary school children are learning in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools.
Coun Malcolm hope the creation of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park - a joint-project between South Tyneside and Sunderland City Councils near the Nissan car plant - will create more job opportunities for residents.
He said: “We are starting to get the businesses interested but we also need to look at the transport activity around IAM as there is no point having these jobs if people can’t physically get to the site. We have the lowest car ownership in South Tyneside so we need to build better transport links.
“On the issue of skills, we are very clear when we are talking to the international investors, is that we want them to take some of the training sessions in South Tyneside and Sunderland, so local people get a flavour of the jobs that will be on offer, and that they can appreciate that these are jobs are jobs they can do, and that they are well paid jobs as well.
“It’s part of our land that is being used and we want South Tyneside residents to get the full benefit of the new jobs at this site.
“I am confident that with the park running alongside work at Holborn, it will have a huge impact on those employment figures.”
Work on the Holborn site aims to create new homes and “high-quality” office space.