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Enterprise Zones are pushing the UK ahead of global competitors after attracting even more overseas automotive investment, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said today.

Since the creation of the North East Enterprise Zone in April 2012, more than 600 jobs have been created.
Four new companies have moved into the A19 zone including logistics firm Vantec, which has invested £22.5m to build a 421,000 sq. ft base providing logistics and warehousing services to Nissan.

In addition GatesheadCollege will create a ground-breaking International Centre for Low Carbon Vehicle Development next to Nissan, providing vocational skills training to benefit local businesses.

The North East Enterprise Zone is one of five firmly behind innovation in the UK’s automotive industry. They are part of the Government’s Automotive Industrial Strategy which aims to secure the long term future of the sector and grow the UK’s share of it, using research and development to stay at the cutting edge of change.

Announcing the creation of a new European Technical Centre for Swedish automotive safety systems manufacturer Haldex, at the MIRA Enterprise Zone in Leicestershire, Eric Pickles said:
“We have acted fast to tackle the deficit. We are now focused on backing the industries of the future, growing the private sector and making Britain a great place to do business.

“When international companies invest here it shows we have got our offer right. Every 20 seconds a car, van, bus or truck rolls off a UK production line and Enterprise Zones are magnets for the global motor industry with the best international businesses choosing them as their home.

“This is just the beginning – Enterprise Zones are at the heart of our long-term economic plans. They are already making a big difference, attracting increased investment to the UK – half a billion pounds so far – and creating over 4,600 jobs in just a year and a half.”

Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable said:
“The British car industry is a big national success story. This year it has attracted more than £2.5 billion of investment and created 5,000 new jobs. Haldex’s decision to base its European Technical Centre at MIRA shows we are an attractive place for international companies to do business.

“The Government’s industrial strategy is clearly working and giving business the confidence to invest and create more high skilled, long term jobs in the UK. We have launched the £3 million Automotive Investment Organisation – a specialist team dedicated to winning overseas investment in the UK car industry. We have also committed more than £1 billion over the next 10 years to ensure the UK maintains its leading position on researching and developing greener car technology.”

Paul Woolston, chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“The LEP’s North East EZ land adjacent to Nissan has proved to be extremely popular. With keen interest from two major employers the first parcel of land was released to Vantec which now operates one of the sector’s most efficient and productive logistics operations from the site.

“This was the first EZ site in the country to have a major development underway, and it has been followed up with adjacent investments in R&D and grow-on space by Zero Carbon Futures and Gateshead College. The site is ideally suited to take advantage of the country’s only test track dedicated to low carbon vehicles which runs alongside the EZ.

“In addition, Sunderland City Council’s £6m Washington Business Centre on the EZ will be open in Spring 2014 and is ideally placed for businesses serving the advanced manufacturing and low carbon industries. Over the road, on the final phase of this EZ site to be released, a combination of public funding from the RGF, ERDF and the North East LEP’s Investment Fund will be used to develop the necessary infrastructure that will accommodate the growth of a number of prospective occupiers.

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