CITY leaders are waiting to hear if ministers will back a 24,000-job deal which will see Nissan’s success help rebuild Sunderland.
Council bosses are in talks with civil servants over what could potentially be one of the UK’s most successful city deals.
Sunderland wants to be handed powers to keep a small amount of the tax revenue raised from firms in a new advanced manufacturing park, and spend the cash transforming the city centre.
With supply chain firms flocking to land around Nissan’s car factory, council bosses in Sunderland have pitched for Government support to create the new automotive specific enterprise zone-style park offering help to firms bringing jobs to the North East.
South Tyneside Council is also backing the project with land and officer time as the two councils seek to build on the region’s jobs success.
Plans headed up by council leader Paul Watson are now being considered by Treasury officials as the Government looks to reap success with a second round of city deals.
Already Newcastle has been handed significant borrowing powers to help it regenerate parts of Tyneside.
Chief executive Dave Smith said the Sunderland deal could, if successful, transform more than just land near Nissan.
“We were asked what one big thing the Government could give us and we said we wanted to realise the potential of the automotive and advanced manufacturing sector here,” Mr Smith said.
“But what we need is to be able to take some of the tax revenue generated from that, more than just business rate retention, and use it to incentivise commercial development in the city centre.
“As a result of growth elsewhere, the city centre has been hollowed out, and we want to see this growth in the automotive sector help change that.”
Those city centre plans will see the former Vaux brewery site built up, bringing far more spending into the city centre.
Mr Watson said: “Jobs will be created on the Vaux site in Sunderland city centre through a stronger and more explicit link to our global manufacturing base.
“It’s about placing Wearside at the heart of regional economy. And as the country’s only region with a net balance of trade, the North East is firmly making its contribution to rebalancing the UK’s economy.”
Backing him was the leader of South Tyneside Council Iain Malcolm, who said: “This City Deal bid is ambitious but achievable and represents a huge opportunity to establish the region as the UK’s advanced manufacturing hub.
“There is no getting away from the fact that we are too reliant on the public sector for employment and as a result, the people of the North East have felt a disproportionate level of pain as public spending is cut and jobs are shed.
“South Tyneside and Sunderland councils have come together to submit this bid, which is built on our shared strengths in innovation, manufacturing and power generation.”