NEW proposals announced today could see Sunderland win extra powers to create jobs, boost skills and increase investment.
The city is one of a number invited to bid for more freedom and flexibility under the second wave of the Government’s “city deals” programme.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Cities Minister Greg Clark announced today that Sunderland is eligible to compete for a deal that would see Government hand over powers in return for signing up to a series of promises.
The first wave saw deals struck with England’s eight largest cities – including Newcastle – in July.
Today’s announcement is aimed at the next 14 largest cities and the next six with the highest population growth between 2001 to 2010.
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said: “A City Deal for Sunderland has the potential to give a major boost to our economy and that of the wider area.
“We’re looking at unlocking more potential growth in manufacturing and advanced engineering in Sunderland and the wider region.
“We want to work more closely with the Government to address the supply of land, transportation, skills and the pace of development.
“Our proposals will build on the priorities set out in the city’s economic masterplan and also reflect broader North East Local Enterprise Partnership priorities.”
Greg Clark said: “For Britain to prosper we need Sunderland and the North East to prosper.
“Every British town and city is unique – in its history, strengths, industries and character.
“For too long governments treated them as if they were all the same, making them conform to a Whitehall template.
“City Deals put Sunderland and the North East in the driving seat. It can seize the initiative and show what it needs to prosper and grow, even if it’s new and different.
“If it’s in the interest of Sunderland and the national interest, we’ll strike a deal and make it happen.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg added: “I want cities to come up with ambitious and innovative proposals to help them make changes that will be felt by everyone across their region.”