Chancellor George Osborne was in north Northumberland today and visited one of the jewels in the area’s tourism crown – Holy Island.
Mr Osborne began his afternoon visit at St Aidan’s Winery, where he tried his hand at bottling the famous Lindisfarne Mead, before heading up to Lindisfarne Castle where he was shown round by steward Nick Lewis.
The Chancellor was in the North East to outline a six-point long-term economic plan for the region during a speech in Stockton, which included plans to add an extra £6billion to the region’s economy by 2030, create 50,000 new jobs and deliver £4.5billion of investment in transport, which includes the dualling of the A1 in Northumberland, which is expected to be underway by 2019.
It will not come as much of a surprise to political observers that he also took the time to come to north Northumberland as the Tories are hoping their candidate, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who accompanied Mr Osborne on his visit, will wrest control of the Berwick constituency from the Lib Dems when Sir Alan Beith MP stands down after more than 40 years.
However, one of the six points in his plan is to boost tourism and the rural economy in the North East to attract an additional 150,000 overseas visitors each year, which includes new investment for Lindisfarne Castle as well as Hadrian’s Wall. The aim is to provide £1.2million to the National Trust to enhance Lindisfarne Castle.
Another transport boost is the new franchises for Northern Rail and TransPennine, for which the details of how bidders would be required to improve the service were announced today.
Mr Osborne said: “Our long-term economic plan for the North East aims to build further on our vision of a Northern Powerhouse, to ensure that we have a truly national recovery. The North East is growing and creating jobs, and on many measures is doing so more quickly than other parts of the country. The challenge now is to sustain that, which is why I am here today setting out our long-term plan to create 50,000 new jobs, and boost the North East’s economy by an additional £6billion.”