Northern Powerhouse plans for Sunderland revealed

Northern Powerhouse minister  James Wharton, third left, with fellow Conservative members.
Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton, third left, with fellow Conservative members.
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Sunderland’s car economy and skills of its workforce should be capitalised on as part of plans for the Northern Powerhouse.

Wearside’s Conservative councillors were among party members from across the region who met minister James Wharton on Fridayat Sunderland Civic Centre.

We believe it important opposition parties are fully involved in the running of the North East Combined Authority if it is to win acceptance and establish legitimacy within the region.

Councillor Peter Wood

High on the agenda at the private gathering was the region’s proposed devolution deal, how it can access further funds from a £30million cash pot aimed at boosting business, closing the North-South divide, improving transport and its role as the voice of opposition in the North East’s Labour-led councils. Sunderland’s Nissan plant was championed as part of that, with its work and associated businesses providing a blueprint for other industries to follow.

Mr Wharton, Northern Powerhouse minister, said: “I think in Sunderland, particularly Nissan, but also its supply chain which comes with it, we can look to evolve that.

“It is a Conservative legacy which was brought to the city, but there is now other work, such as the enterprise zones in the region, and we are looking at the potential here.

“We recognise the hard- working workforce, who are not just among the most skilled in the region, but the world. I’m here with Conservative councillors of the North East to make sure their voices are heard.”

Coun Peter Wood, leader of the council’s Conservative group, added: “We believe it is important opposition parties are fully involved in the running of the North East Combined Authority if it is to win acceptance, and establish legitimacy within the region.”