'The Pinewood of the North here we come' - Chancellor Rishi Sunak hails new Hartlepool film studio development on visit to art college
Chancellor Rishi Sunak hailed the significance of Hartlepool’s Northern School of Art to the UK’s growing creative industry on a visit to the college on Friday.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the campus was creating great opportunities for young people and described a new film studio being built on site as the “Pinewood of the North”.
Mr Sunak is the latest in a series of high-profile Conservative politicians to come to Hartlepool ahead of next week’s by-election to decide our new MP following visits by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel.
The new £3.7million Northern Studios is being built on a former council depot next to the Northern School of Art in Lynn Street and is set to be the the North East’s first dedicated large-scale studios.
Mr Sunak said: “The Pinewood of the North here we come.”
During his visit he spoke to bricklaying apprentices and to students studying set production and design.
He said: "The facility here is going to be regionally significant in terms of its scale. They’re building an amazing pipeline of talent coming through.
"When you speak to the young people who are here you can’t but be filled with confidence and optimism about the future, not just for them but for but for this industry here in the North East.”
Mr Sunak defended the Government’s record on help for businesses and people during the pandemic saying it will spend a record £400bn.
However, Jobseekers’ Allowance claims in Hartlepool rose by 27% from January 2020 to January 2021.
And small business lender iwocca found one in nine (11%) Hartlepool jobs are in the two sectors worst affected last year of accommodation and food services and arts and entertainment.
Mr Sunak said: “We said at the beginning we would do what it takes to protect the country and I believe we have delivered on that promise and are continuing to do so as we reopen the economy.
"Sadly 800,000 people have lost their jobs since the beginning of this crisis and that’s why we are throwing the kitchen sink at trying to keep people in work and help them find new opportunities."
He cited the Kickstart Scheme for young people, Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee to help adults to retrain, and £3,000 new apprentice incentives.