LABOUR WILL BACK NORTHUMBERLAND’S HARD PRESSED ECONOMY
‘Labour’s plans will boost Northumberland jobs and businesses’ - Davey
Labour have unveiled a ‘We’re backing Northumberland’ pledge to act decisively to boost the economy across the county setting out plans to
· Scrap the unfair ‘car parking tax’ levied on some towns across Northumberland which is sucking up to £5m from the local economy
· Ensure the Labour pledge to build at least 1300 affordable homes includes a ‘presumption to buy local’ which will protect up to 3000 local jobs keeping an estimated £60m circulating within the local economy.
· Modernise council services with a pledge to strengthen ‘in house’ service delivery and to protect local public sector jobs which benefit the local economy
· Ensure the ‘public service drain’ is halted where the authority is ‘centralising’ services and work with local Town Council’s to develop ‘local service hubs’ breathing life back into Northumberland’s towns such as Ashington, Blyth Hexham, Berwick and Morpeth
· 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
· Roll out plans to create at least 100 new apprenticeships per year linked to the 1300 affordable homes pledge for the four years of the house building programme
· Set up a dedicated and funded arms-length body to promote Northumberland’s Tourist Industry across the country and internationally.
Labour’s plan will concentrate council resources on strengthening rural and urban economies such as promoting the ‘spin off’ opportunities with their top pledge to build at least 1300 affordable homes such as using ‘smart procurement’.
Labour is also pledging to halt Liberal plans to privatise council services. Labour will work with Town Councils to re-introduce essential council services in towns across the county where ‘the council has deserted its post’.
There are also plans to create two new bodies which would be tasked with supporting rural businesses such as farming and the burgeoning renewables industry.
Labour group leader Grant Davey, speaking on behalf of Labour’s county council candidates said
‘We’ve had a Liberal council propped up by Conservative votes since 2008 which has decimated council services and stood by while Northumberland’s economy has struggled.
We’ve been subjected to a parking tax which has sucked £5m out of the economy of Berwick, Hexham, Morpeth and Alnwick; we’ve had a rush to prepare council services for privatisation and a complete lack of interest in supporting key rural industries like farming and tourism.
Our plans tackle this neglect and we’re keen to make sure that big council projects under a Labour administration will have a ‘presumption to buy local’. For example, our 1300 affordable home pledge will create at least 500 construction jobs along with 100 apprentices per year but we’ll move to make sure local firms get a fair crack in the procurement processes’.
Notes for Editors
· We estimate a ‘smart procurement policy’ will support at least 3000 local jobs and will safeguard around £60m available to the local economy (Nomis)
· The Rural Business committee will develop a Rural Business Action Plan and will have the long term aim of giving important industries like farming and renewable energy a voice within council policy development. It is estimated that the rural businesses contribute £35m to the local, regional and national economy. The Rural Action Plan will seek to inform and shape the North East Rural Action Plan
· Labour will stop plans to privatise council services which have already cost the council an estimated £1m in consultants fees alone. We will instead work with service areas to develop ‘in house’ service improvement plans which will give staff an important role in developing their own services.
· Labour in Northumberland will take the lead on developing a new tourism promotion in the region to promote Northumberland as a destination of choice across the world. Tourism is worth an estimated £40m to the regional economy