SOUTH TYNESIDE: Local business leaders and campaigners are fighting to keep building contracts local. The borough's business community has objected to South Tyneside Homes' award of a supply contract worth over a £1m to Warwickshire-based Wolseley UK.

Several business groups are calling on South Tyneside Homes to reconsider its contracts policy over fears of local job losses. It says the move will help make savings while Wolseley will still use local suppliers.

Geoff Ford, chairman of Ford Aerospace and also chair of South Tyneside Manufacturing Forum, said local business groups plan to keep up the pressure on South Tyneside Homes.

"My own forum will work with groups like the local branch of the North East Chamber of Commerce, South Tyneside Business Forum and others to keep pressing for STH to rethink its decision," he said.

"South Tyneside remains an unemployment blackspot and we cannot afford to lose this type of work in the present economic climate."