Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery complains of 'seagulls the size of jumbo jets' as he calls for more investment in region

A Labour MP has invited a government minister to visit his constituency to see first hand the damage being caused by a lack of investment.

By David Sedgwick
Friday, 10th June 2022, 10:12 am
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, has called on the government to invest more in the region.
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, has called on the government to invest more in the region.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery said parts of his constituency were in desperate need of funding support.

Speaking in the House of Commons during a debate on the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, he said rubbish being left on the streets, in particular in the Hirst area of Ashington, was attracting large gulls and rats as a result of the lack of investment and infrastructure.

He said: “I am going to ask the question, ‘What does levelling up actually mean?.

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"In my view, levelling up should be about people. It should be about individuals and families.

"We should be addressing issues in the left-behind communities, which were once proud and thriving but which have been left behind for an awful long time.

"It is fair to say that people believe that levelling up is purely political rhetoric – a political narrative and a political slogan – that does not mention them.

"Levelling up should be about tackling child poverty, pensioner poverty, fuel poverty and food bank reliance.

"It should be about employment opportunities, educational opportunities, health outcomes and life expectancy. It should not just be about shiny new one-off projects in towns that need a bit of a polish.”

Mr Lavery then invited Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Communities, to see first hand the issues in Wansbeck, and in particular Ashington.

He said: “I take this opportunity to invite the Secretary of State to visit me in my constituency and witness for himself the desperate need for some sort of levelling up finance.

"I want him to come to Northumberland and visit Ashington and Bedlington to see the holes in the centre of those wonderful towns, which are desperate for investment but have not had any for many years.

"I want him to walk through the streets of Bedlington and listen to the constituents who have been pleading for leisure facilities for many, many years but have not been given any.

"I want to take him to the Hirst area of Ashington to see the conditions that some of its residents live in, which many people would not tolerate.

"They do not even have a suitable refuse collection, so there are bin liners on the streets, seagulls the size of jumbo jets, and rats right across where they live.

"We need investment and support for these held back communities.

"I want to take the Secretary of State to Newbiggin, Morpeth, Choppington and Sleekburn, but we would need to make sure that the buses were on time, because we have not got a suitable bus service.

"In many of the places I have mentioned, people have to get the bus at 10 o’clock in the morning and return to the community by 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon, because otherwise the bus service is not there to assist.

"I want the Secretary of State to come and see how people live in my constituency, because this is an extremely serious issue.

"It is time we used the leaps forward in modern technology and connectivity to radically rethink Whitehall.

"We need to make it a priority to create jobs in the places I have mentioned – real, good, solid employment opportunities with decent wages and terms and conditions, and trade union recognition.

"I say to the Secretary of State, ‘Come along and join me. I am sure you will enjoy it’.”