North of Tyne candidates continue to outline policy ideas
The Labour candidate has launched his manifesto in Alnwick, while the Tory hopeful has outlined his vision for housing as the clock ticks down to the election of the first North of Tyne mayor.
The winner in next Thursday’s (May 2) poll will chair the cabinet of the North of Tyne Combined Authority and will have a number of specific powers and financial resources.
This includes a £600million investment fund over 30 years – £20million a year – to support job creation across the area. The mayor will also ensure the area’s voice is clearly heard by the Government and champion the North of Tyne nationally and internationally.
In Alnwick, Labour’s Jamie Driscoll recently launched his manifesto, which sets out five key policies that have been developed throughout his six-month campaign and that he feels have all been successfully tried and tested elsewhere.
Speaking at a campaign event in the town, he said: “I’ve laid out five key policies that all interlink to address the challenges facing our region.
“We have a proud history of industrial innovation, beautiful scenery and people famous for their warmth and friendliness. But for decades now we’ve been ignored by the Tory Government, who think that the north stops at Manchester.
“Everything here has been successfully implemented elsewhere. This is about bringing all of the best common-sense solutions to the region and implementing them all, together, to create prosperity we can all be part of.”
Jamie’s five pledges are: Keeping money in our region – through community wealth building, supporting small and worker-owned business and setting up a people’s bank; a Green Industrial Revolution, through declaring a climate-change emergency, creating a community-owned green energy company, improving bus and rail services including joint ticketing, and tackling food waste and food poverty; Community hubs to revitalise local life; Building affordable homes to provide secure places to live; and meaningful adult education to enable lifelong learning.
His full manifesto, Prosperity you can be part of, can be found here – https://www.jd4mayor.com/manifesto/The race’s independent candidate, John McCabe, live-streamed the launch of his manifesto last week, which he said is the result of listening carefully to what people from across the North of Tyne have said since he announced his candidacy.
During the video address, he said: “This is a massive opportunity for our region, and the people of the North of Tyne must now decide who they want to lead it and represent them.
“And the choice is becoming clear, it’s either more of the same chaos from the traditional political parties or the fresh new approach I am offering as the only independent candidate in the election.
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“We have huge potential here. Our region is packed full of talented, hard-working people, who want to live, work and succeed in one of the most beautiful and inspiring parts of the country.
“We have the opportunity to do something different to ensure that potential is at last fulfilled.”
His manifesto also has five key planks – opportunity for our economy, including establishing a new inward investment service; opportunity for our schools, which includes his pledge for every school will have access to a specialist mental-health counsellor; opportunity for our communities; opportunity for our environment; and opportunity for our future, through the creation of a Mayoral Commission on Opportunity to look at issues of equality, diversity and social mobility.
Meanwhile, Conservative Charlie Hoult has outlined his proposals for sport, housing and a media hub for the region.
He has pledged to provide the right homes in the right places for people living in the North of Tyne area, by working with the public, private and voluntary sectors to deliver tailored housing plans to meet the needs of different communities.
“Within our towns and cities, the challenges are around the condition of homes and the need for improvements, rather than simply a need for more homes. In rural communities, the challenges include a need for more affordable homes for those born in the area,” he said.
“So, we need to tailor specialist grants to the right homes and the challenges of local situations. For instance, I’d work with the National Innovation Centre for Ageing at Newcastle University to develop a housing offer that supports residents to stay well and independent for as long as possible.”
This week, Mr Hoult also launched his idea to invest in a new media hub for the region.
The concept behind the hub, dubbed Great North Media, would be to increase news, debate and culture, but also to provide and move beyond pure content to encourage tourism and participation.
He said: “Regional media is under great pressure – less original content, no space for news and no meaningful debate. That’s the same across newspapers, radio and TV. All are squeezed by the spread of new online channels, but it’s the North East that suffers.”
The Tory candidate, who is backed by Sir John Hall, is also keen to use sport to build communities, improve wellbeing and stimulate economic growth, with a pledge to create new satellite sporting hubs in key towns across the North of Tyne area as well as a bid for the Commonwealth Games in Newcastle.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service