'Sunderland has strong record of attracting work' - council chief responds to job fears report

Sunderland has a strong record of attracting work and will continue to do so into the future.

Monday, 29th January 2018, 8:38 am
Updated Monday, 29th January 2018, 8:46 am
Councillor Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council

That is the response by the deputy leader of Sunderland City Council to a report by Centre for Cities claiming 29% of jobs could be lost in Wearside by 2030 if action is not taken.

Coun Harry Trueman, said: “Many manufacturing jobs in Sunderland are actually leaner, more highly automated than elsewhere in the UK and this is already helping to attract new investment.

“Our city has a strong track record of creating new jobs and this City Council has every intention of continuing it.

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“Reports like this can sometimes serve to highlight and heighten what actions have been taken and what is happening to prevent a certain set of circumstances from developing.

“This report says some jobs are at risk, it does not say they are definitely going to go.

“What is definite is that this council is working to lessen that risk and ensure that new jobs and opportunities are created.

“From almost zero ten years ago, there are now hundreds of people working in the city’s software sector.

“Plus, plans are taking shape to create more than 5,000 jobs with the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) close to the A19 and the Nissan site, and there is growing interest from companies to move here.

“Sunderland is working closely with South Tyneside on this IAMP project and will continue working with other public and private partners to help create new jobs and attract even more investment.

“Sunderland has a reputation for being robust and resilient, and I predict that will definitely continue in the future.

“What the City Council definitely does want from this report is Government ensuring there is adequate funding at all schools and colleges to help develop the skills that our future workforce needs.”

North East Automotive Alliance chief executive Paul Butler added: “The North East is world-renowned as a centre of excellence for automotive manufacturing and home to Nissan’s Sunderland plant, undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of the UK automotive sector, producing 30% of the UK’s passenger cars and 26% of all Electric Vehicle production across Europe.

“We also have a truly globally competitive supply chain, with 28 Tier 1 suppliers and a wealth of specialist SMEs and numerous R&D centres.

“Undoubtedly the automotive industry is changing - autonomous driving, infotainment, preventative maintenance, modal integration, ride sharing, vehicle communications are just some of the areas that are expected to change.

“The anticipated expanded model choices, customisation and increased personalisation will bring with them manufacturing challenges and this means that manufacturers must work to shorter production lead times and rely on a responsive and agile localised supply chain.

“Therefore, to remain globally competitive and have a strong and vibrant future, we must ensure the sector is at the forefront of manufacturing technologies and automation.

“While many speculate that this will lead to job losses, the fact is growth within the sector will result in a significant number of new jobs being created and automation will enable the sector to upskill employees and move them into higher earning and more rewarding jobs.

“This can only have a positive impact upon the region.

“Much has been said about the UK’s productivity puzzle. However, recent Government statistics highlighted that the UK’s automotive sector is the most productive in Europe.

“Undoubtedly our readiness to adopt new technologies allows us to remain competitive and to maximise growth opportunities within the region.”