My plan for the North East will make the region the home of real opportunity and turn our regional pride into a key economic selling point for the North East.
We need an economy that works for everyone, where the benefits of devolution are felt across the region. This plan ensures that from offshore engineering and automotive manufacturing jobs to high streets and transport, the economy of the North East is inclusive and thriving
I commit to:
· End Child Poverty- This will be the thread that runs through every decision I make as Mayor.
· Sure Start Plus – Labour transformed lives with Sure Start. We can empower a new generation with Start North East. From after-school clubs that deliver pre-apprenticeship training to youth clubs and music lessons for those in hardest hit neighbourhoods, we’ll support families and create real opportunity.
· More Jobs, Better Jobs- I’ll focus on job creation in all locations and open dedicated North East Careers Hubs in villages and towns as well as cities to deliver skills training across our region. I’ll work with trade unions to set the standard for a great job.
· Break Down Barriers- I’ll remove financial barriers to work and training by trialling a Mayor’s Childcare Grant and ‘travel to work’ credit for those that need it most.
· Buses back in public hands - I’ll urgently bring buses back into public control so buses go where we need them, not just where is profitable. Travel will be free for young people and there will be subsidies for those getting back in to work.
· A Safer, Bigger Metro - I’ll expand the Metro system and I’ll prioritise safety. You’ll see more gates in our Metro stations, as well as the staff that passengers want to see working at them. We’ll have one integrated transport system with standardised fares that everyone can use.
· Building transport infrastructure – I’ll back the key projects we need to thrive, including the new Weardale passenger railway in Durham, the reopening of the Leamside Line, the Newcastle to Blyth railway and the Washington Metro expansion. I’ll back the Bowburn Bypass in Durham and role out electric vehicle charging points and improved cycle infrastructure to ensure all our communities have access to travel.
· A New Era for our Rivers and Ports – Working with our councils, I’ll create thousands of well-paid green jobs, green housing, biodiversity projects and a new tourist economy on our rivers and coastline. I’ll do this by joining up our ports and rivers through a new Mayoral Development Company to boost our reputation as world leaders in offshore wind and green hydrogen energy.
· A Great Home - We’ll build thousands of homes on brownfield land to the greenest standards in the country. I’ll use our skills budget to ensure houses are built or retrofitted by local workers trained here in the North East. We’ll set the standards for rental properties and I’ll work with local councils to seize properties from the landlords who refuse to take responsibility, so we can hand those properties over to social landlords.
· Reimagined Highstreets – I’ll immediately launch a high streets commission to work with communities in the villages, towns and cities of the North East. We’ll revitalise our vibrant high streets to create not just jobs and retail but the social and residential spaces we can all be proud of.
· Beyond Net Zero- Our response to the climate crisis will be built on greener jobs, better transport and new homes but we’ll improve our environment too. I’ll create a fund for biodiversity projects that increase green spaces and trees and improve water and air quality. We’ll set higher standards for new developments.
· Our Proud Region- With our North East pride, a shared vision and a collective voice we’ll gain national and international attention. Our vibrant cultural offer is world class. I’ll grow this offer, make it accessible for everyone and together we’ll tell the world our story to grow tourism and attract investment.