Sunderland leader hails £12m funding for city

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THE leader of Sunderland City Council has welcomed the announcement that the city’s economy will receive £12million of regional growth funding.

As reported in yesterday’s Echo, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that the Sunderland City Deal Infrastructure Development programme will get a share of a £506million funding pot.

Council leader Coun Paul Watson said it was crucial to improve infrastructure to make Wearside more attractive to industry and encourage inward investment.

“Obviously, it’s really important that we remain competitive with the rest of the world to attract both people and advanced manufacturing,” he said.

“It’s crucial to the economy. If you look at China, Brazil South Africa and Russia, they have five to six-lane motorways going into their industrial areas and ports.

“It’s also important to attract inward investment.”

He added: “It’s crucial to the area to remain at the forefront of advanced manufacturing.”

Coun Watson said the cash will pay for infrastructure improvements, including in Cherry Blossom Way in the Enterprise Zone, to make it more accessible to industry.

He said other areas earmarked for an overhaul include approach roads to the port and the new Wear crossing

Also welcoming the announcement, North East Lib Dem MEP Fiona Hall said: “The scheme, led by Nick Clegg, has proven to be a clever way of using public investment to attract even more private money.

“And by keeping a clear focus on choosing projects that can quickly deliver the jobs and growth we need, the Regional Growth Fund is playing a vital role in the region’s recovery.”

“It follows the announcement earlier in the month of £700million of European investment over the coming years, given directly to the region to create and secure many thousands of jobs.”