A new style of commuter train to be manufactured in County Durham has been revealed. Hitachi has put a bid in to manufacture the new design in the region. The trains will be used in east London and as part of the £741 million Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme.
A government advisor warned that a shortage of skilled workers in the North East of England means the train company Hitachi will have to recruit staff from nearby car manufacturer Nissan.
The warning was issued by Jim O'Neill, a former senior banker who is now advising the government on how to grow the UK's cities.
Hitachi will create thousands of jobs at its factory in Newton Aycliffe. But there are fears that it will only be able to fill those vacancies by taking staff from the Nissan plant in Sunderland.
The Government has said it was the responsibility of the North East local enterprise partnership to notify an MP of an official visit to his constituency.
Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson accused Stockton South's James Wharton of visiting Mr Wilson's constituency without informing him first. The Stockton South MP said he was only 'dropping off' Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis, and denies taking part in an official visit.
A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said:
The construction of Hitachi's new train-building factory in County Durham has created more jobs that first expected.
Up to 400 workers a day have been employed on-site, rather than the anticipated 200. Most of them are from the North East. The factory, in Newton Aycliffe, is expected to open next year.
Hitachi is celebrating a milestone in the building of its rail vehicle manufacturing plant at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham.
The facility is expected to be finished in a year's time.
Today's (May 29) ceremony marked the erection of a steel frame on the site.
The plant will service as Hitachi's main European facility for train manufacturing and assembly.
The company chose the Newton Aycliffe site out of 42 contenders because of its transport links and skills in the local workforce.
Hitachi says it represents an £82 million investment in the region.
Almost 500 new train carriages will be built by Hitachi at its new factory in Newton Aycliffe, creating 730 jobs.
The Class 800 trains will start running on the East Coast line in 2018. The Department for Transport announced funding of £2.7 billion for the project.
Hitachi has moved its global rail headquarters to London, after securing a £1bn contract to build trains in the North East.
The Business Secretary Vince Cable said today it was a 'vote of confidence' in the UK and the North East.
Business secretary Vince Cable says Hitachi moving its global headquarters from Japan to London is great news for the North East, where the company's train building factory will be based.