A MULTIMILLION deal that will help create almost 9,000 jobs and cement Sunderland as the UK capital of car manufacturing, was today agreed.
Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg was at Nissan to announce the £87.5million City Deal, that will include the creation of a new manufacturing park and the building of the long-awaited Wear bridge.
Mr Clegg pledged the deal would “build the foundations for long-term growth in Sunderland for this generation and the next, building a stronger economy.”
Under the City Deal status, Sunderland gets:
•£5million for the development of an International Advanced Manufacturing Park next to Nissan – equivalent to the size of 140 football pitches.
•£82.5million of funding that finally gives the green light to the long-awaited new road bridge over the Wear.
•The creation of 8,900 jobs by 2031.
•A new Central Business District on the Vaux site, aimed at injecting new life to Sunderland city centre.
•Once established, the deal is likely to bring £295million in private sector investment in the city’s manufacturing industry.
•The creation of a Skills Compact that will invest in Wearsiders and help the unemployed or unskilled.
In an exclusive interview with the Echo, Mr Clegg said the deal would give Sunderland the “opportunity to shape its own future”.
He added: “We need to fast forward from now and imagine how things feel when we have the benefits of this manufacturing park, the new bridge and international investment.
“There will be a lot of opportunities provided for Sunderland’s young people, they won’t need to go elsewhere to find work, it will be on their doorstep.
“This City Deal builds on the success of Sunderland’s car industry and is a tribute to the workers in the region who are exporting models right across Europe.
“It will build on that success to boost the local supply chain, attract further investment and revitalise local businesses and craftsmen, harnessing local skills for many years to come.”
Mr Clegg said investment in the manufacturing park was something that some of Wearside’s biggest employers, including Nissan, Rolls-Royce, TRW Automotive and Liebherr have all been “crying out for”.
Mr Clegg dismissed fears the city centre was paying the price for the success of the outlying Nissan plant. He added: “It does not have to be one or the other.
“Part of the City Deal is to pay for the Wear bridge and to ensure new life is breathed into the old brewery site in the city centre.
“Success breeds success, and the success of the manufacturing sector can be echoed by the rejuvenation of the city centre.”
It is hoped that today’s announcement is the vital first step in creating a development of “national significance” that will bring in an estimated £295million in private sector investment.
Speaking about the £80million for the new Wear crossing, due to be completed by November 2017, Mr Clegg said: “I know from speaking to people in Sunderland that roads and traffic congestion are issues and the links between the city centre and the A19 and A1 are not good enough at the minute.
“The decision to build a new road bridge is a sensible one and while we should strive for success we need to make sure we plan for things which are deliverable.”
The advanced manufacturing park is expected to be completed by 2027, creating 5,200 new manufacturing jobs, with more than 500 new jobs being created every year from 2018.
A further 3,700 jobs will be created by 2031.