South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck recently attended a debate on the future of North East economy in the House of Commons. The debate was called to discuss the North East Independent Economic Review, a report conducted by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and led by the Labour peer Lord Andrew Adonis.
In her speech Emma said that skills and training needed to be the focus if towns like South Shields were to generate well-paid jobs in skilled sectors like manufacturing, and praised the work of local businesses like the Port of Tyne and Ford Aerospace in working alongside South Tyneside College to create new apprenticeship schemes. But without the will from central Government to invest in the North East, Emma said, opportunities for young people will be limited. She pointed out that local authority funding in South Tyneside has been cut by £262.42 per person under the Coalition.
“Economic stagnation under this Government means that the number of people who have been out of work for over 24 months is four times higher than it was a year ago,” Emma said, adding: “The simple fact is that this Government refuse to admit that there are not enough jobs and that, of those that exist, not enough are highly skilled. Job creation and training are essential for the north-east and its people.”
Emma also pointed to the recent announcement that funding for transport infrastructure projects in the North East will be a third lower than expected as evidence that the Coalition is not committed to the area’s regeneration.
She said that local businesses “are not helped by infrastructure that is failing through a lack of investment. The Government announced in the spending review that the transport funding allocated to the north-east will be a third lower than anticipated, and the Institute for Public Policy Research North has revealed that transport project spending per head is over 500 times higher in London than in the North East.”
To read Emma’s speech in full, click here.