Sunderland in line for slice of £100millon business improvement cash

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SUNDERLAND’S low carbon Enterprise Zone could be set for a share of £100million Government cash.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced today Whitehall is inviting Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to bid for money to fund key infrastructure projects such as road building and land clearance to create thousands of jobs.

The LEPs have already supported 180 businesses, welcomed half a billion pounds of private sector money and generated almost 4,000 jobs.

Paul Woolston, chairman of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, one of the largest in the country, said: “It’s great news that £100million of government funding for Enterprise Zone infrastructure works is being made available.

“The North East Enterprise Zone offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to the region.

“It was the first in the country to have a major development underway, and it has attracted companies and developers in automotive, offshore and energy-related sectors.”

The North East Enterprise zone covers sites along the A19 designed to attract businesses working in the low carbon sector and has attracted Vantec Europe’s completed development and the Washington Business Centre, which is now under construction, as well as redevelopment of a site on the north bank of the Tyne as part of a manufacturing scheme and a development of the Port of Blyth site. “The North East LEP area has the infrastructure, the skilled workforce and a strong supply chain in sectors such as the offshore, energy and automotive industries.

“Our North East Investment Fund has already loaned £10million to projects in the Enterprise Zone, and can help many more companies invest.

“All this means the added value of locating at the North East Enterprise Zone sites gives its occupiers a competitive edge in a global market.”

Sunderland City Council leader Councillor Paul Watson added: “We have identified the remaining infrastructure required for the Sunderland Enterprise Zone, and there’s already strong interest from businesses prepared to invest and create jobs once this infrastructure is in place.

“With the Vantec investment and the new Washington Business Centre, the Sunderland Enterprise Zone is already the most successful in the 
country.

“We’ve got a strong track record for attracting inward investment in Sunderland and we’re all looking forward to more progress, more investment and more job creation here.”