SUNDERLAND’s failed bid to host the Government’s new Green Investment Bank was today described as “bitterly disappointing” and a “missed opportunity”.
Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the bank – set up to drive growth in new green industries – will be based in Edinburgh, with its main transaction team in London.
Sunderland City Council had hoped hosting the bank would help drive Wearside’s ambitions to become a low-carbon business hub.
Council leader Paul Watson said: “Sunderland City Council put in a strong and considered bid and we highlighted both the city’s green and low-carbon credentials, and those of the North East region.
“We felt the Green Investment Bank represented a good opportunity to break the hold that national capitals have on business and corporate financing.”
He added: “Sunderland can still be a gateway to offshore wind technology, is at the forefront of low-carbon automotive production and a leader in broadband and cloud technology.
“We’re certainly on a par and beyond many major UK cities in terms of the green offer for investors and businesses.
“Nevertheless, we and all our partners in the bid will look forward to working with the bank at its chosen locations as we continue to show the world that we’re a city that’s open to and for business.”
Conservative group leader Councillor Robert Oliver defended the Government’s spending record on Wearside.
He said: “It was worth trying for the Green Investment Bank, because it is the sort of thing the city should be lobbying the Government for,” he said.
“Clearly, it has not come off this time but we have had some success with the iconic bridge and the new enterprise zone.”
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said: “This is a missed opportunity for the Government to put work outside of the South East.
“It is still unclear how many jobs will be in London and how many in Edinburgh.
“The process, however, has raised the profile of Sunderland as a city that is committed to green jobs.”
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson added: “This is a bitterly disappointing announcement from a Government which is supposedly committed to regional development.
“There is no region in the UK better suited to be the hub of green technology and innovation than the North East, and there is no city within the North East better suited to host the Green Investment Bank than Sunderland.
“Credit should go to Sunderland City Council and everyone else involved in drawing up a really strong bid, and it is a great shame that this work, and the merits of Sunderland, have been ignored by Vince Cable.”