Making opportunity and pride the centre of our North East vision
Kim McGuinness has announced she is standing to be the Labour candidate for the new role of North East mayor - with a plan to create real opportunity and build on the region’s powerful sense of pride and identity.
Kim said she wants to be mayor to ensure that every part of the North East benefits from devolution and has promised to work with council leaders to put people at the centre of her plans for the region.
“The North East has been stuck in second gear for too long. Government has failed to inspire and it has failed to deliver on a promise to level up. If anything, the substance of this deal and the recent levelling up funding announcement prove this. I want to be the mayor that champions our region and makes sure Government hears our voice. I will work with a Labour Government to bring real power to the people of the North East” she said.
Her announcement comes after seven council leaders in the region negotiated a devolution deal which creates a new mayoral combined authority. The Labour Party will now have to select a candidate for this newly created post.
Kim said that if elected her time in office would be built around a relentless focus on ending child poverty. The North East now has the highest child poverty rates in the country coupled with the highest unemployment rate.
Kim said: “I am standing to be a campaigning mayor in a region I love. If I become mayor I will work with our councils to ensure a relentless focus on creating real opportunity is the thread that runs through everything I do as mayor.
“That means bringing the region together to end child poverty and making sure everyone has access to good homes and great jobs.
“It means climate solutions that go beyond net zero with investment in nature and
bio-diversity and investing in young adults to create opportunity for all.
“And it means urgently introducing the publicly-controlled North East transport system
that is the key to our growth.
“We need change and we need to fight for real power. Devolution simply hasn’t meant anything to most people in our region so far.”
She added: “When you hear the media or people in Westminster talk about the North, they constantly look to Manchester. We have sat back and watched as Manchester got on with the job. Manchester has become the de facto voice of the North, and I won’t stand for that any longer.
“We need a mayor who is both proud of our region and prepared to be bold in their ambition.
‘I’m not here to use the job as an ideological experiment. I’m standing to ensure the Labour Party brings opportunity to all parts of the North East, turning our regional pride into a powerful force for change.
“For me, this is personal. I grew up here, my life was changed by the last Labour Government and the opportunity it gave me. I love where we live and I want to be the Labour mayor that makes this the best place in the country to be and gives the next generation all the opportunities they need to succeed.”
The mayoral candidate has spent her time as Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner focussing on two key priorities: ensuring the police are supported to fight crime and backing the hardest hit communities in the battle to prevent crime.
With her police and crime plan, Fighting Poverty, Fighting Crime, she became the first police commissioner in the country to make alleviating entrenched poverty a key part of crime prevention.
She has overseen the creation of the region’s first Violence Reduction Unit and used its resources to deliver frontline community services that stand by families in difficulty. Her flagship Operation Payback scheme has seen money recovered from criminals and handed directly to local people to spend in their neighbourhoods.
If selected as the Labour candidate Kim will remain as Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner until May 2024. She said “the people of the region entrusted me to deliver for them as PCC. I’m committed to that and the continued effort to fight and prevent crime across our region.”