Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for the City of Durham, today (23/03/12) took to the Commons to respond to the Budget and accused the Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening of being part of a Government living in a ‘fantasy land'.
Roberta highlighted that despite unemployment in the North East being 10.8% compared to 6.6% in the South East there is hardly any mention of the region in the Chancellor's Budget announced earlier this week.
Roberta criticised the Government for a lack of coherent strategy and a series of trivial funds which have been announced in an attempt to mask their lack of attention to the North East.
Roberta also argued that the Chancellor's plans to reduce the wages of 300,000 North East public sector workers in a ‘regional pay deal' would remove a further £78 million from the North East economy. This is also on top of public sector workers having already taken a 16% cut in real terms by 2015 - drastically cutting the spending power of families in the North East.
"This Government is living in a fantasy land, we have record unemployment in the North East and the situation is particularly bad for young people - the region saw a 120% rise in youth unemployment in 2011. Yet the Chancellor has offered no coherent strategy for growth in the North East.
Labour would be creating jobs for young people - a tax on bankers' bonuses would create 5,500 jobs for 16-24 year olds in the North East. We would also give 58,000 small businesses in the region a tax break if they take on extra workers.
This Government needs to bring forward investment in home building, schools and transport. For instance, the Coalition promised to continue with the previous Labour Government's decision to invest £350 million into the Tyne and Wear Metro but no progress is being made."