Tagged: transport links

Labour say they will create a Minister for the North East

A Labour Government would appoint a Minister for the North East to ensure the region has a strong voice at Westminster, it was revealed today.

Ed Miliband would appoint a Minister for each English region in a bid to ensure the entire country received a fair deal from Government, and to help businesses in their regions attract investment from across the world.

The manifesto commitment came as  Miliband also announced plans to divert £20bn in funding from Whitehall to local councils, to spend on improving transport links, building houses, providing training and creating jobs.

To qualify for the cash, councils would need to work together to create a “combined authority” – giving the North East an advantage, as it is one of the first regions to create such an authority.

They would also need to work closely with the local business community and draw up showing how they would use the money to create jobs in the private sector.

The North East had a regional minister under the last Labour government, with the post being held by Newcastle MP Nick Brown.

A Labour government would appoint nine regional ministers, who would sit on a new Regional Committee chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Their duties would include helping local councils, central government and Local Enterprise Partnerships, the economic development bodies led by the business community, to work closely together.

They would also champion their area in Whitehall and ensure that the impact of policy proposals on every part of the country is considered.

Regional ministers will work with other Ministers such as the Business Secretary to implement an industrial strategy to create jobs in every part of the country.

And they will encourage tourism and act as a visible representative of their region at major events.

Speaking in Birmingham, Mr Miliband set out plans to strip national government of billions of pounds and send the cash directly to the regions of England for local politicians to spend.

But warned that funding will go to “city regions” and “county regions” where authorities have come together to create a combined authority.

So far, councils in the Greater Manchester area, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Greater Liverpool regions have created combined authorities – and the North East is about to create its own combined authority bringing together Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Mr Miliband is announcing that plans to devolve £20bn over the course of the next Parliament to combined authorities will be included in Labour’s General Election manifesto.

He said: “Labour’s message at the next election will be clear:

“Devolving power from Whitehall to our towns and cities is essential to generate the new jobs we need.

“We propose a new bargain: Cities and towns that come together with local businesses will be given historic new powers over transport, housing, skills and economic development.

“We are determined to make our great cities and towns the powerhouses for the creation of good jobs.”

> But he still seems set to continue on the same lines as the Tories regarding unemployment and benefits, so for most of us it’ll probably just be a case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Source – Newcastle Journal   08 April 2014

New Housing…But for Who ?

 > This is posted as an example partly of the state of affairs regarding unemployment on Wearside (empty trading estates) and the lack of joined-up thinking on planning  (no new social housing for those being forced by the Bedroom Tax to downsize).

The council could at the very least demand a percentage of one-bedroomed social housing as part of the development. We seem to have plenty of unaffordable “affordable” housing already.

140 new family homes could be created on the site of a Sunderland industrial park.

 Developers are hoping to get planning permission from Sunderland City Council for 140 two, three and four-bedroom homes where Phoenix Tower business park, just off Wessington Way, currently stands.

Bosses said today the houses, in Southwick, will go towards meeting the “crippling” shortage of quality homes on Wearside.

The site has been unused since Stag Furniture closed eight years ago.

Jason Whitfield, senior planner at planning agent England and Lyle, which has submitted the application, said: “This development will provide high quality, affordable family housing in Sunderland.

“The site is highly sustainable and offers access to shops, services and facilities, as well has having excellent transport links. There has been no demand for the site for industrial or commercial uses since the closure of Stag Furniture in 2006. In the meantime the character of the area has changed with Sainsbury’s locating next door.

A consultation into the plans finishes on Tuesday, April 15.

Source – Sunderland Echo  03 April 2014