Delay to jobs and cash bid

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THE bid to bring thousands of jobs and tens of millions of pounds worth of industry to Wearside and the North East has been delayed.

Council leaders in the North East were due to submit a joint bid today to set up an enterprise zone along the A19 to support low carbon industries and advanced manufacturing.

The scheme was forecast to create 11,410 jobs. However, a row has broken out over an alternative scheme championed by Newcastle and Gateshead councils to focus on “urban cores” – including the Vaux site and areas in Tyneside.

Sunderland, Durham, South Tyneside, Northumberland and North Tyneside were in favour of the low carbon scheme, out-voting Newcastle and Gateshead by five to two.

Today there were claims that Treasury officials warned the green bid would not meet the criteria for enterprise zone status – which offers rates freezes and other incentives for businesses.

The urban cores scheme, considered by the seven councils on the North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership, was forecast to create more jobs and bring in more cash faster than the low-carbon scheme.

Councils in favour of the low carbon proposals – including electric vehicles and off-shore energy – are believed to consider that option better for the long-term future of the region as a whole.