Hitachi petition presented to Downing Street
BUSINESS leaders campaigning to bring a trains factory to the North-east say the project will grow the economy.
Dubbed the “new Nissan” because of the anticipated impact it would have on the region’s economy, Hitachi’s rolling stock factory could bring up to 9,000 jobs if it goes ahead at Newton Aycliffe.
A 4,000-name petition was presented to Downing Street yesterday by business and union leaders and Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, ahead of next week’s Comprehensive Spending Review.
A Government decision on the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) - for which the factory would be built - is expected as part of the review. If it goes ahead, the programme, to replace the decades-old fleet on the East Coast Mainline and Great Western Line, will be the UK’s most significant investment in rolling train stock for more than 30 years.
Campaigners say no public expenditure will be needed before 2014 - yet the project will bring an immediate jobs boost to the region.
Business and union leaders from the Chamber of Commerce, UNITE and the Northern TUC took the petition, to Downing Street and the House of Commons.
“This is another opportunity to highlight to the Government how important everybody believes the Intercity Express Programme will be to the North-east,” said Mr Wilson. “Hitachi’s project will bring 800 direct jobs, 2,500 in the supply chain and around 9,000 nationally.”
Neil Foster, policy and campaigns officer for the Northern TUC, added: “The Government should be seeing this as an investment - the Hitachi project will bring an estimated 48 to one return for every public pound spent.”
A spokesperson for Hitachi Rail Europe said: “We are awaiting next week’s decision - if the IEP goes ahead, we can go ahead with our plans.”