North East mayoral candidate Kim McGuinness has set out her vision for the North East economy in a keynote speech launching her full manifesto.
The Labour mayoral candidate told an audience of supporters at the Fire Station, Sunderland, that she planned to create an economy that works for all of the North East – not just city centres and business parks – if elected next May.
Kim has committed to making the North East the home of real opportunity with a plan to end child poverty, remove the barriers to work and invest in the foundational economy.
Speaking at the event, Kim said: “The North East has the potential to lead the way in both green manufacturing jobs and the digital economy.
“But for thousands of families, those employment opportunities are simply unachievable today. If devolution is to mean something to all parts of the region then our job creation mix has to offer something for all our residents.
“l’ll create thousands of green jobs to fuel our economy but I won’t forget that not every job can be a senior, graduate level job.
“That challenge facing our region is especially true when we think about the child poverty crisis facing the North East. A family on the breadline today can’t feed their kids with the promise of a digital future in a city centre miles away.
“What they need now is a good local job, a working high street, and an affordable, reliable and safe public transport system.
“And that’s the mix I’ll work to create; I’ll turbo-charge our green manufacturing base while working with others to revive the high streets that make our towns and villages a great place to live.
“This approach, the focus on the foundational economy, has been missing from our devolution story so far. Tory devolution deals have been designed as business support agencies, with no thought given to the wider needs of the region.”
Kim set out how she would make public transport work for the economy of the North East, with buses brought back into public control, subsidised fares for those starting work and Metro expansion.
The Police and Crime Commissioner has also committed to introducing an anti-harassment campaign on the Metro as well as more gated-stations and staff in a bid to make the network safer. It builds on her work as PCC in which she has secured more than £1m of transport safety investment for the region.
Kim was introduced at the event by Paul Callaghan, Chair of The Board of Trustees
Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust and former chair of the now abolished Regional Development Agency One North East.
Paul has backed Kim’s vision for a North East economy rebuilt with culture, arts and music as one of its key strengths.
Kim said: “I love our region, it shaped me and I tell people where I am from with pride.
That’s why I’m standing with a plan to create real opportunity, to turn our rivers and ports into the national home of green jobs and to finally put our regional pride, our culture and sports, back on the global stage.”
Also speaking at the event was Durham County Council Labour group leader Carl Marshall, who backed Kim to be a North East mayor who invests in Durham.
Carl said: “This selection vote is vital. We must not settle for anything other than the very best candidate. It’s what our members expect, and most importantly it’s what the public expect.
“That’s why I have no hesitation in backing Kim and why I look with optimism to our future as Labour Party which is in power, delivering for our residents, at every level across the North East.”