THE Government has promised to pave the way for more investment in Tyneside’s energy sector.
Business minister Michael Fallon pledged a new era of stability amid growing concerns that coalition infighting was deterring investors.
Mr Fallon made the announcement as he opened Bridon’s new £30m factory that he said would “breathe new life into the banks of the River Tyne”.
It comes months after the head of the CBI visited Newcastle and accused the Conservatives of failing to help offshore and renewable energy firms.
CBI director-general John Cridland attacked the Government’s “short-term decision making” which was stifling investment in the North East.
But on his visit yesterday, Mr Fallon said a new Bill would address concerns and entice investors into the region.
He said: “What investors want is a stable framework and you are going to see that announced in the new Energy Bill. It will give investors more confidence in the long-term future of offshore and renewable energy in Newcastle.
“We are gearing up to attract more investment in Newcastle with the city deal.”
Rope giants Bridon officially opened their £30m new factory at the Walker-based Bridon Neptune Quay, where they will begin producing the world’s largest offshore ropes when it opens for business today.
More than £2.2m was ploughed into the scheme from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and it is anticipated the development will safeguard more than 150 jobs and create a further 50.
Bridon Group chief executive Jon Templeman said: “On this site we will have the largest and most sophisticated rope-making machine in the world.
“We will be able to make larger and more complex ropes so that companies trying to make sub-sea infrastructures in places off the coast of Brazil can reach huge depths.”
Mr Fallon also visited the Tharsus plant in Blyth, Northumberland, which was awarded an RGF grant of £690,000 to supplement a £3m investment to refurbish its site with new equipment and technology.
It is hoped the redesign and manufacture of a powerful washer unit – used by the F1 teams Mercedes, Red Bull Racing and McLaren – will create 80 jobs at the site.
Mr Fallon said: “The money we spend in grants from the Government brings in more than six times that money in private investment.”
Bridon’s latest phase of development comes less than two years after they began constructing the factory on land owned by Shepherd Offshore, which also put around £14m into the development.
Nick Brown, MP for Newcastle East, said: “This is very important multi-million pound capital investment in the future of Newcastle.
“This is the only factory of its kind in the world making a product that can’t be made anywhere else.
“Investors have confidence in this area.”
Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council which has ploughed millions into developing the north bank of the River Tyne, said: “The opening of the new Bridon factory is another huge and important step in the rejuvenation of the north bank of the Tyne.
“It sends a massive vote of confidence in our ability to manufacture and export goods from the North East to places all over the world.”