The Government today announced a £60m investment in the North East to support the region’s industrial transition to low carbon and advanced manufacturing.
Following the announcement last week that Corus would cut 1,700 jobs from its Teesside workforce, the Government will prioritise a number of projects under consideration to secure immediate investment to support workers in the area. The overall package will create an estimated 3,000 new jobs in the short to medium term — and sustain over 10,000 jobs long term.
The immediate investment will be structured in two parts:
• The first injection will address immediate issues arising from the Corus Redcar mothballing, including providing approximately £10m for apprenticeships and support for people to start businesses, and up to £20m investment in the nearby Wilton International site — the other major employer in the vicinity to strengthen and sustain its competitiveness and employment. The enterprise support will be targeted primarily at redundant workers, and is expected to create up to 300 jobs.
• £30m of further money will equip Teesside to move beyond traditional heavy industry, thus realising its potential to be part of the UK’s low carbon manufacturing base. This includes investment to redevelop industrial land and infrastructure; establish bio-based materials; and reduce energy use of industry in the area for initiatives on carbon capture and storage, supporting technology transfer and new business practices.
Speaking to a meeting of local representatives including industry, local government and agencies from the North East, Lord Mandelson outlined how Government and the Regional Development Agency, One NorthEast would act support existing industry, encourage enterprise and innovation and drive skills development. BIS and One NorthEast, the Regional Development Agency, are each offering £30m investment to meet the costs of these projects.
He said: “Following the announcement that Corus will mothball its Redcar plant we must act to secure long term employment in sustainable manufacturing in the region. Today’s investment from the Government and the RDA will strengthen existing industries and create new opportunities. Teesside has the skills, the workforce and the infrastructure to compete in future advanced and low carbon manufacturing. We’re acting to ensure they have the best support to succeed.”
Alan Clarke, One North East Chief Executive and Chairman of the Corus Response Group, said: “This package of support builds upon and accelerates projects which will help underpin the future economy of the Tees Valley. It is very much addressing immediate priorities while also looking to the longer term to put in place the infrastructure needed to support the major changes the process sector and other industries are embracing.
“Some of this investment package will directly support the work of the Corus Response Group which is meeting in Redcar tomorrow to take forward a package of assistance for workers facing redundancy.”