Council’s work brings hundreds of jobs and millions in investment to Sunderland, say civic chiefs

Tom Hurst, chief investment officer, Janet Snaith, head of business investment and Councillor Bryan Charlton, portfolio holder for Prosperous City at Sunderland City Council.

Tom Hurst, chief investment officer, Janet Snaith, head of business investment and Councillor Bryan Charlton, portfolio holder for Prosperous City at Sunderland City Council.

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CITY leaders say they have helped create more than 2,600 jobs and secured £505million of investment this year.

Sunderland City Council’s business investment team has helped a range of companies apply for money from the Regional Growth Fund.

Successes include Nissan, which won backing for projects that could create up to 1,000 UK jobs.

Other Regional Growth Fund winners included the new Test Track and Low Emission Vehicle Development Centre next to Nissan, the Turbine Business Park in Washington, and leading companies Unipres, Calsonic Kansei and Vantec.

U.S.A-based Lear Corporation is developing a new factory at Rainton Bridge Industrial Estate to produce foam for vehicle seats.

The move will create 300 new jobs, with recruitment for the first phase of 150 already under way.

Council leader Coun Paul Watson said the move was a major statement of confidence in Wearside.

He said: “We promised that we would leave no stone unturned, we would scour the world for jobs for Sunderland, and this is an example of how we have done that.”

Gideon Jewel, president of seating operations, Europe and Africa at Lear Corporation, said the authority’s approach had played a major role in the decision to come to Wearside.

“We’re impressed with the superb support we’ve had from Sunderland City Council’s Business Investment team, who have worked tirelessly to help bring about the major new investment and new jobs to the city.”

City firms which have worked with the council include Haskel Europe, which celebrated winning a £20million contract to make equipment which will test parts for the F-35, the world’s most advanced fighter jet.

Stephen Learney, Haskel Europe’s managing director said: “Sunderland City Council’s support and investment has been invaluable in giving us the resources to compete on an international contract and win it.

“The decisiveness and quick responses from Tom Hurst, the chief investment officer at the city council, was just what we needed.”

During 2011 the council helped to create 340 jobs at 75 smaller companies.

Businesses which have created new jobs or expanded into new premises this year include Tiger Filtration, Salecycle, Cylinder Service Centre, Lynch Healthcare, Datawright, Digital Spark, Fence Houses Truss Company and Bioinnovel.

Successful start-ups in 2011 which have been helped by the authority include Glass Frog e-consultancy, Beehive Bakery and Arc Associates design and engineering consultancy.

Tiger Filtration, which has grown on average 50 per cent year-on-year and was awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade this year, is looking forward to a busy 2012.

Managing director Bob Thompson said: “We’ve stayed at Sunderland despite overtures from other councils because of the fantastic care we continue to get from the city council.

“The continuing support we’ve received from the council’s business investment team translates into real added value for our business.”

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