Job losses hit businesses

The new �2m offshore processing centre at Tata Steel's site, in Brenda Road, Hartlepool
The new �2m offshore processing centre at Tata Steel's site, in Brenda Road, Hartlepool

A DISAPPOINTING month of job cuts have been reported in the Tees Valley – with the few bright spots coming out of Hartlepool.

The latest economic study of the area has been announced by regeneration specialists Tees Valley Unlimited.

Their survey of September’s activities in Tees Valley’s business world shows there were more jobs lost than gained – and this was the first time the trend had been seen since the very end of 2010.

A TVU spokesman said: “It was a disappointing month for reported job gains and losses. After a long period where reported job gains have outweighed losses, this situation changed drastically in September, with more losses than gains.”

The main cause of this, said the experts, was the potential closure of the Direct Line contact centre in Stockton with 500 jobs under threat.

The TVU spokesman said the downturn was being reflected in the number of job vacancies on offer in the area, adding: “The number of vacancies in the Tees Valley notified to Jobcentre Plus declined very slightly in July, though remaining at a relatively high level.”

But there were some bright spots.

September saw the official opening of a new £2m Offshore Processing Centre (OPC), at Tata Steel’s site in Brenda Road, Hartlepool.

It will supply components for the foundations of offshore wind turbine structures.

The purpose-built facility will not create new jobs, but it will help safeguard the 700 jobs on the site.

Electronics company Stadium, in Brenda Road, is creating 20 new jobs thanks to two new and significant contracts.

It has contracts coming through to make smart meters and to manufacture electronic boxes for shops.

Ten staff are being recruited to cope with the extra workload. And another 10 are likely to be recruited next year.

Accountants Evolution have added three new members of staff to their growing team at Wynyard Business Park.

And there could be the potential for more investment from French-based SNF Oil and Gas.

The enhanced oil recovery firm has applied to Stockton Council for planning permission for a site in Billingham.

The firm would create 250 jobs if permission is granted and if government support through the Regional Growth Fund is achieved.