The number of main benefit claimants in Sunderland is on the decline as local car manufacturing company Nissan has struck a deal to build two new cars – cementing the company’s future within the North East.
The Sunderland plant is set to defy fears of the Brexit vote as it is to manufacture the new Qashqai and the X-Trail SUV – a deal that has relieved the pressure on over 7,000 employees.
Recent Official Labour Market Statistics have shown the number of Jobs Seekers Allowance claimants in Sunderland has dropped by over 3.5 per cent in the past four years – with the news from Nissan expected to maintain that trend.
The news comes not only as a timely boost for those involved at Nissan, but also as Sunderland constituency MP Sharon Hodgson insists, it is a breakthrough for the economic growth of the entire region.
“It is welcome that this announcement will secure 7,000 jobs at the plant,” said Mrs Hodgson.
“This news should be welcomed by all and is a moment for the North East to celebrate some good news for our region’s much-needed economic growth and job creation.”
The Sunderland City Council, who tabled a notice of motion with regards to the Sunderland plant and its workers, welcomed the news in particular:
“This council congratulates wholeheartedly the Nissan workforce for their sterling efforts in securing the future production of the next generation Qashqai and X-Trail and feels that it is right and proper for the workforce of Nissan to receive the Freedom of the City at a future date.”
According to recent figures, the manufacturing industry represents 17 per cent of the workforce within Sunderland – a statistic that would undoubtedly decline without the Nissan plant.
“Nissan is such a vital contributor to our regional economy but also our national economy,” said Mrs Hodgson.
The influence of Nissan in these figures cannot be underestimated and Sedgefield constituency MP Phil Wilson highlighted the significance of such deals being replicated by the government.
When speaking about Nissan, Mr Wilson, said: “The news about Nissan in the North East is brilliant, but there are other strategic industries in the North East of England.
“Hitachi Rail Europe in my constituency opened a £90million factory last year, employing almost 1,000 people and hundreds more in the supply chain, (Hitachi Rail Europe) is here for the long term.”
Despite such positive news for the region, Nissan have declined to comment on proceedings.