Ups and downs in job numbers in the northeast

Georgia Lewis

Image © Colin

People who probably had no idea the Geneva Motor Show was even happening this week were made well aware of it after a surprise announcement by Nissan. A new compact car is to be manufactured at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, a rare beacon of economic hope and employment in the beleaguered northeast of England.

Sky News was first to jump on the bandwagon with the declaration that it was great news for the job market and they fitted in a spot of Cameron cheerleading because this happened partly because of £9.3 million in support from the government. Never mind that it mostly happened because of £125 million in investment from Nissan – through the Sky News prism, this was irrefutable proof that the Con-Dems are serious about job creation.

First, the good news – this means about 600 new jobs at the plant and when you add in jobs created along the supply chain, up to 2,000 new jobs. Not only are there new positions being created but, for the current employees at the plant, they can enjoy a greater sense of job security. This is great news indeed and will make for many happy households in the northeast.

But let’s not get too excited about an economic revival of the northeast just yet. Last November, multinational mineral resource processing company Rio Tinto announced the closure of an aluminium smelter in Lynemouth, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Blaming carbon taxes for the closure, this has resulted in the loss of 515 jobs. Last May, Indian company Tata Steel cut 1,500 jobs in nearby Teesside and Scunthorpe, a bit further south, again citing the costs involved in reducing emissions. So that’s 2,515 people looking for work many miles north of Westminster.

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