QUALITY schools and housing are key to keeping talent in Sunderland and making the most of the £87.5million City Deal, say the Conservatives.
Sunderland Tory leader Robert Oliver says that building in the right locations could reverse population loss and capitalise on the multi-million pound deal announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg last week.
The City Deal means Sunderland gets £5million to develop an advanced manufacturing park adjacent to Nissan, along with £82.5million of funding for the new Wear crossing, and 8,900 new jobs by 2031.
A new Central Business District on the Vaux site is intended to inject new life into Sunderland city centre and a Skills Compact will help the unemployed or unskilled.
It is estimated that the City Deal will bring £295million in private sector investment in Wearside’s manufacturing industry.
“The City Deal is a tremendous step forward for the city of Sunderland and a tribute to the quality and size of manufacturing in the city,” Coun Oliver said. “It allows Sunderland to create the type of jobs which will both keep young people here and attract others from outside the city.
“If the city can do this then the Vaux site will be developed as a spin-off as the city becomes generally more prosperous and has more people in it.
“To realise the full potential of the City Deal, now is the time to ensure that the city attracts people to live as well as work here in terms of schools and housing.
“Housing is essential in ensuring that the benefits of the City Deal remain in Sunderland both at the new manufacturing park and in the city centre. By building in the right place and the right type, we could see an increase in population, reversing the recent trend of population loss.
“This is crucial too to the success of the Vaux site in ensuring more people work but also live and spend in the city.
“We also need more secondary schools rated outstanding to ensure parents want to stay in Sunderland for their children’s education.”