Mayoral candidate Kim McGuinness has set out her 12-point Plan for the North East to create jobs, end child poverty and power the region’s cultural sector to thrive.
Kim is bidding to be Labour’s first North East mayor with a commitment to making the region the home of real opportunity and turning regional pride into a key economic selling point for the North East.
The mayoral candidate said she wants to end the days of the North East being in the shadow of Manchester or Leeds and finally make devolution a reality for people in towns, villages and cities across the region.
“We need an economy that works for everyone, where the benefits of devolution are felt across the region. This plan ensures that from big business and manufacturing jobs to high streets and transport, the economy of the North East is inclusive and thriving,” Kim said.
Kim is setting out her 12-point plan at Equinor in South Tyneside as she promises to ensure the North East seizes the offshore opportunity at a time when other regions are pushing ahead.
SSE Renewables and Equinor have announced-world leading plans to develop offshore energy on the Dogg Bank Wind Farm with the potential for thousands of manufacturing and supply chain jobs – a vision Kim has said will be central to her time as mayor.
The Plan for the North East includes a promise to bring buses under public-control by 2028, child care grants for families struggling with in-work poverty and a commitment to creating thousands of green energy and offshore plans by developing the region’s ports and rivers.
Kim said: “I’m standing to be mayor of the North East because I want to create real opportunity and ensure everyone has the chance to succeed in the region I love.
“I’m standing because I’m proud of this region and I’m fed-up of seeing us stuck behind Manchester or Leeds, let alone London. Regional pride and ambition should be central to what a mayor is about; they should be a national advocate for our great North East.
“As mayor I will create a North East where everyone thrives, not just those already at the top. Where we go beyond net zero with climate change policies that change lives. Where there is a good home for everyone, whether you rent or own and a well-paid job enjoyed by a skilled workforce backed by strong trade unions. Where public transport is safe, reliable, affordable – and publicly-controlled.”
She added: “I’ll make fighting child poverty the thread that runs through my office, and introduce a Mayor’s Child Care grant and subsidised public transport to help families move out of in-work poverty and keep more of their earnings.
“And even as I work with our councils and business to create thousands of jobs along our rivers and ports, and develop our region’s status as a global centre for offshore engineering and green energy, I’ll also work with our unions to ensure the jobs available in our region are well-paid and secure.
“Our devolution story to date simply has not reached its potential and I want to change that, to ensure all parts of the North East feel the benefits. It's time our North East rose out of adversity with pride. I’ll be the mayor who puts our people first.”
The 12-point plan includes a promise to create a safer and bigger Metro system. Kim has promised to gate more Metro stations, with more staff on hand to help passengers in these stations. The proposal is part of her plan for an integrated transport system with standardised fares and a simple cross-operator ticketing system.
Kim’s transport commitments also include building the region’s vital transport infrastructure. Kim said she will back the key projects that drive the North East economy, including the new Weardale passenger railway in Durham, the reopening of the Leamside Line, the Newcastle to Blyth railway and the Washington Metro expansion. She has also committed to backing the Bowburn Bypass in Durham and the role out electric vehicle charging points and improved cycle infrastructure to ensure all communities have access to travel.
The 12-point plan can be viewed here and will be followed up with a full manifesto launch at a Sunderland event in June.