MEP calls on authorities to use train building project as catalyst for future success (From The Advertiser Series)
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Fiona Hall says Hitachi Rail Europe deal can have big impact on region
THE region's local authorities and regional partnerships must use a flagship train building deal as a springboard to the area, a North-East MEP has said.
Fiona Hall says Hitachi Rail Europe's £82m Newton Aycliffe factory should be the catalyst to support leading businesses and spur improvements in skills and teaching.
The Hitachi plant will build more than 860 carriages from 2016 for the Government's Intercity Express Programme, creating 730 jobs, and last week it was revealed specialist glass maker Romag, near Consett, County Durham, will supply windows for the trains.
Ms Hall said: “There is a risk of thinking that attracting Hitachi to the area is the end of the job.
“Instead, we should be looking at the work that needs to be done by local councils, schools and colleges to ensure support exists to make the project a long-term success.
“Having learnt more about the company's plans, I'm even more excited about the potential to transform the area.
“As well as the many vital new jobs that will be created, Hitachi have a clear determination to increase skill levels across the board, to the benefit of manufacturing across the region.”
Earlier this month, Alistair Dormer, Hitachi Rail Europe chief executive, called on Britain to stay in the European Union, saying any move away could damage trade, which Ms Hall has welcomed.
She said: “A key part of the attraction for firms like Hitachi coming to the UK is our position as a gateway to the rest of the continent.
“As Hitachi Rail Europe looks to grow its manufacturing base at Newton Aycliffe, and secure more contracts from other European countries, the last thing they need is to be out in the cold.”
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