Labour pledge to back county

Grant Davey, Leader of Labour Group, Northumberland County Council
Grant Davey, Leader of Labour Group, Northumberland County Council

The leader of the county’s Labour Group has set out his party’s manifesto to boost the economy and jobs, ahead of the May elections.

Two weeks ago, the Gazette reported on the Conservative’s manifesto and now Labour have unveiled their own.

Through a ‘We’re backing Northumberland’ campaign, the party promises to ‘act decisively to boost the economy across the county’.

They pledge to scrap the ‘unfair car parking tax’ levied on some towns across Northumberland, which they claim is sucking up to £5million from the local economy.

Labour also wants to modernise council services with a pledge to strengthen ‘in house’ service delivery and to protect local public sector jobs which benefit the local economy.

At the same time, they want to ensure the ‘public service drain’ is halted, where the authority is centralising services and work with local town councils to develop ‘local service hubs’ breathing life back into the county’s towns.

Relevant to north Northumberland, the group promises to set up a rural business sub-committee which will have powers to draw up a Rural Action Plan to tackle the problems faced by important rural businesses such as the farming sector and to tackle rural poverty at source, while they also want to set up a dedicated and funded arms-length body to promote Northumberland’s tourist industry across the country and internationally.

On housing, Labour has pledged an additional 1,300 affordable homes across the county and this also ties in with their goals of boosting the economy.

The promise includes a presumption to buy local, which will protect up to 3,000 local jobs, keeping an estimated £60million circulating within the local economy.

Linked to this four-year programme will be a scheme to create at least 100 new apprenticeships per year.

Labour leader Grant Davey said: “We’re keen to make sure that big council projects under a Labour administration will have a presumption to buy local.

“For example, our 1,300 affordable home pledge will create at least 500 construction jobs along with 100 apprentices per year.”