‘I expect Sunderland to come next’ – Sunderland MP slams Government as city misses out on new powers and cash

Bridget Phillipson
Bridget Phillipson
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A DISAPPOINTED MP has hit out after Sunderland was omitted in a handout of new powers and Government cash.

Nick Clegg revealed the latest stage in the Coalition Government’s city deal scheme which will see six cities given extra help to grow their economy.

Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield and Newcastle were chosen.

Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, said: “It is disappointing news that Sunderland has missed out. I support the idea of local communities having a greater say and more powers.

“I believe the Government should look to extend this to all major cities across England including Sunderland, not just a select few.”

In response, leader of Sunderland Conservatives Robert Oliver said he was expecting Sunderland to be part of the second wave of the programme.

He said: “Newcastle has been given this boost because it is in the group of cities with the largest populations in the country.

“I expect Sunderland to come next so it will be important that the council put forward a strong and robust plan to secure the money, as there could be hundreds of millions at stake.”

The Shadow Communities and Local Government secretary Hilary Benn said that while the Labour Party supported communities being given more powers, he hoped it would be extended.

He said: “If this is the right thing to do for our core cities, then what about the rest of England?

“What we now need is a clear commitment that local authorities in all parts of England – including other cities, counties and districts – will be given the same opportunity to come together and take back power in the interests of the communities they represent.”

Coun Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said Wearside will benefit from the Newcastle deal.

He added: “Sunderland City Council welcomes the conclusion of the Newcastle City Deal which will undoubtedly help one of our regional economic partners with future regeneration plans, and help create much needed employment and investment opportunities.

“We are already working with Newcastle and other parts of NELEP area on other aspects of its City Deal, especially the skills requirements which will benefit the regional workforce and business communities.”

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