Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Ed Milliband visits the North East

The Leader of the Opposition was in the region yesterday calling on Government to focus their efforts on creating an economy based on manufacturing, whilst stressing the opportunities available to them in the North East.

Sharing his vision of the UK at the Leibherr Plant in Sunderland, Mr Milliband focussed the importance of a diverse manufacturing industry for the future of the UK.

“For too long we have had an economy based on financial services, and this is not sustainable,” he said.

“We’ve got to create different types of jobs in our economy which pay decent wages, as unless you get the industry and services creating those well paying jobs, it’s going to be hard for people to be able to keep themselves afloat.”

Referring to the North East’s manufacturing and engineering heritage, Mr Milliband expressed his faith in the region, and its potential to contribute to the regional and national economy.

“Areas like this could be a powerhouse for manufacturing and the government is cutting off a lot of that support,” he continued.

“I believe that areas like this which focus on high-tech manufacturing should be the future and can be the future but requires the government to take action and do something about it.”

During talks with employees, Mr Milliband was quick to criticise government economic policy, and accused them of “sitting on their hands”, when it comes to providing real and sustainable solutions for businesses and individuals in the UK.

“They’ve fundamentally run out of excuses – they’ve blamed the last Labour government, they’ve blamed the euro zone, but there’s no excuse – they are in power and they should take action.”

He then called on them to recognise the opportunities the region has to offer, especially in new and developing technologies, but stressed that support would be not be found in Coalition policies.

“It is being particularly badly hit, and you can see that in the unemployment figures, and its because the government doesn’t really understand the opportunities which are in this region.

“The fact that when it comes to jobs in climate change and environmental industries, if only they were providing support, jobs and opportunities could be created, and I think there can be a bright economic future for this region, but not under this government.”

In the wake of yesterday’s unemployment figures, Mr Milliband faced questions about what his Party would do to get people back into the workplace. Nationally 2.62 million people are out of work, and the North East topping unemployment levels at 11.6%

Blaming the government for their inaction over the rise in youth unemployment, he said: “It’s a difficult place to find work, and its true of a lot of parts of the country, but it’s all about political will.

“If the government had political will they could get our economy moving and get young people back to work.”

He went on to propose the imposition further taxation of the banks, which would then be used to create jobs for young people.

“I think the government are ignoring the needs of the North East and lots of parts of the country, and they’re totally out of touch with what’s really happening.

“We’ve got the forecast from the Bank of England that we are going to have continued low growth in our economy that isn’t going to cut unemployment, that is going to create the jobs we need – that’s why I am doing everything I can to make the government change course, and do the right thing by the North East and the whole country.”

When questioned about the Government’s plans for apprenticeships, he accused the coalition of “rebranding jobs” rather than creating new ones.

“They can’t pull the wool over peoples’ eyes –we’ve got unemployment amongst young people going above a million, – frankly it’s not good enough.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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