by Joanna Thom
Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for city of Durham, attacked the government over the impact that their economic policies are having on the North East.
This comes after the M.P. accused the government of not doing enough to help the North East when responding to a report published by Price Waterhouse Cooper on the 10th of November which highlighted the negative effects that the recession has had on the region, including high unemployment, falling house prices and insolvency.
Ms Blackman-Woods also criticised the inability of the government to deal with the regional inequalities, claiming that the area will continue to suffer some of the worst effects of the cuts currently being put in place if more isn’t done.
The M.P. highlighted the impact that the policies have had on young people and women in particular, claiming that unemployment benefit claimed by young people aged between 18 and 24 has increased by 106% in the nine months leading up to October 2011.
Roberta has also been particularly critical of the abolition of the RDA, the Regional Development Agency, which is responsible for the promotion and enabling of economic growth in the region to allow it to fulfil its economic ambitions.
Although the RDA is being replaced by the Regional Growth Fund, a fund that supports projects that lever private sector investments creating economic growth and sustainable employment, Ms Blackman-Woods sees this replacement as neither “strategic nor large enough” to address regional disparities.
The Price Waterhouse Cooper report highlights the clear north south divide when it comes to coping with the effects of the economic downturn. The Durham MP called upon the government to address this growing issue as a matter of urgency, claiming that no real concern was being shown for the people of the north east who are losing their jobs and livelihoods as a result. She accused the leader of the house as responding complacently and pathetically to the problem.
Miss Blackman-Woods also indicated that the government needs to “adopt a Plan B which should include a tax on bank bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people.” She highlighted the unfairness of the government’s policies towards the north east by showing the disparity between unemployment figures in the North East and South East with the former at 11.6% but the latter only at 6.3%.
The Labour party, of which Ms Blackman-Woods is a member, has a clear 5 point plan for how it will help businesses and families who are struggling, having been badly hit by the economic downturn.