Thursday, 24 March 2011

Labour back the Budget

A boost for the Budget has came from an unexpected quarter today. Darlington based Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne, a long standing Labour supporter and donor, has said the budget was "serious about growth and enterprise".

It's a bit embarrassing for Ed Miliband that one Labours few entrepreneurial supporters is now backing the Government's Plan for Growth.

In a statement Duncan said: "I support George Osborne's Budget.

"A sustainable recovery, across all sectors and all regions will only be driven by private sector investment, enterprise and innovation.

"This Budget set out measures to increase the competitiveness of the UK tax system as well as reducing the burden of regulation and and increasing incentives for business investment.

"This Budget has convinced me that George Osborne is serious about growth and enterprise."

According to the Northern Echo, a spokesman for Mr Bannatyne had decided to speak out after being impressed by the coalition's performance since the election.

Even my North East colleague Labour MP Catherine McKinnel could find little to criticize in this plan for growth and admitted 'the announcement of up to 50,000 additional places over the next four years is welcome.' Praise indeed.

Budget is a "real boost for North East business"

This a budget which will really fire up our private sector here in the North East. The measures put forward by the Chancellor will help support small business and create a future based on growth and jobs – rather than debt. A clear plan which will boost enterprise across the region with a focus on advanced manufacturing and green energy.

I am pleased the Chancellor has listen to the arguments put forward by many people in North East, myself included, that this must be a budget for growth – and that's exactly what this budget is.

I was especially pleased to hear the Chancellor declare that prosperity must be shared across the whole of the UK and not just focused on London. I welcome that our region will benefit more than any other from the proposed new Enterprise Zones with two out of the ten zones coming to our region in the first wave and offering reduced business rates and relaxed planning rules to boost business.

There is no doubt the measures to simplify tax and red tape will benefit North East business. More than 300 regulations scrapped, 100 pages of tax rules gone and small business freed from new regulations for the next three years will be a huge boost to entrepreneurs in our region. The Chancellor wants to make the UK the most competitive tax system in the G20 for business. Long term we will see the fruits of that in new business investment in our local economy.

These new measures announced today come on top on a programme of investment from in the rebalancing the regions economy. Including a £350 million upgrade of the Tyne & Wear Metro; A grant of £20 million to Nissan to build a new electric vehicle plant in Sunderland; An investment of £30 million for NaREC (National Renewable Energy Centre) in Northumberland; and access to £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund.

I am very pleased that the Chancellor has introduced a Fair Duty Stabliser as well as the 1 penny per litre cut in fuel duty – all paid for by a tax on oil companies. This won’t transform prices at the pump, but at a time when oil prices round the world are spiking, the Government is trying to ease the burden.

Following on from my 'Skills for Work' campaign to boost vocational training in the region I was pleased to see the Government boost apprenticeships and work experience; increasing the number of work experience places five fold to 100,000 and 50,000 additional apprenticeship places, on top of the 200,000 already planned.

Yesterdays Budget was real help for families, a real boost for business and a fair deal for the North East. By helping families with the cost of living, and backing enterprise this Budget puts fuel into the tank of the British economy.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Big Win

Congratulation to Cllr Wayne Daley and his team in South East Northumberland. There was a by-election of Cramlington Town Council on March 17th.

The result was:

John Collins (Cons) 1014

L Rahman (Lab) 309

G Wilkin (Lib dem) 167

Well done to John for a great win - the Conservatives are continuing to perform strongly across Northumberland.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Campaigning in Newcastle!

Can you join us on April 22nd? We are hosting a National Conservative Future Action Day where we will be heading down into Newcastle to help our colleagues.

Local councillors, MP's and CF chairs will be coming along I hope you can join me!

Hope to see you there, drop me an email for details


Thursday, 17 March 2011


Last Wednesday joined Fairtrade Ambassador and five time Olympic gold medallist, Sir Steve Redgrave, in Parliament in a bid to break the record for the world’s longest bunting.

The world record attempt is to mark this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight and to highlight the Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘Great Cotton Stitch-Up’ campaign - a drive to end unfair European cotton subsidies. West African cotton producers are some of the poorest farmers on the planet and yet, last year, had to compete with EU farmers who received over £600m in subsidies - the equivalent to Estonia’s entire EU contribution.

The record for the world’s longest bunting is currently 2,986 metres. Fairtrade campaigners and supporters around the country are aiming to reach at least 4,350 metres – over two and a half miles!

The final bunting will be displayed on World Fairtrade Day, 14 May.

From the amount of Fairtrade goods on our local shop, I know trade justice is something residents really care about; therefore I am proud to be backing Fairtrade this Fortnight and their bid to break the bunting record.

Sir Steve Redgrave said:
‘I am delighted that Guy is backing Fairtrade’s campaign. I have visited West African cotton farmers in Mali and I have seen how hard it is make a living from cotton already. Farmers there are not asking for a handout, just a level playing field so they can improve their families and communities through hard work.
‘Working together we can end these subsidies and make their live just a little bit easier.’

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A Fair Playing Field

The government will soon be changing the way which migration for jobs works in the UK. The changes to the shortage occupation list will ensure that only skilled workers are coming to the UK.

The changes will still allow firms to bring in people with necessary skills, however importantly it will no longer be the case that migrant workers become the first resort to fill a wide range of available jobs.

If we are to get more people into work then it must be a combination of training, encouragement, setting a fair benefits system and ensure a fair playing field when it comes to job competition.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tuesday westminster update

A packed programme - off to Downing Street at 2 to see the PM as we all get organised for the AV referendum; I am speaking on the 24th March. We have already put out literally thousands of AV referendum and my leaflets but hope to deliver more before early May.
Keen to hear David Cameron's views in detail on AV referendum.

Keeping in touch

We don't have any local elections in my patch this year (expect the AV vote) however that doesn't mean we stop campaigning.

The team were out in Stocksfield to deliver our report on what I've been up to for those that don't read the blog!)

It is vital that MP's take the time to communicate with the people who put them where they are. It is very easy to get lost in the Westminster bubble but I hope the Blog, Facebook, Twitter (still don't tweet enough!) and regular leaflets and local meetings help keep me in touch with the people I work for.

Monday, 14 March 2011


Like everyone I am still taking in the terrible events in Japan. The videos on YouTube a real reminder of the powerful and sometimes destructive power of nature.

I pleased the PM has asked immediately that our Government look at what we can do to help.

My thoughts are with those caught up in this terrible event.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Home for the weekend

Am tucked up here at home as the snow lashes down. The last time we held the Christmas Fair in Newcastle we got snowed off! This must be fate.
Have seen over 15 people in my surgeries, done a trip to Newcastle for the BBC Sunday show on localism / planning and generally met various other people in the time in between. Last night we met a number of the Tynedale youth teams, and tomorrow it is off to Newcastle and then Durham for an evening do with the local conservatives
May struggle but will try and take in the rugby at some stage...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Going for Growth

The Government is continuing our mission to rescue the economy. Taking the tough choices to deal with the huge deficit we inherited. That is the single most important step towards recovery and growth.

Over the last few months regular readers will know I've been champion building a stronger and more diverse economy here in the North East.

Over the coming few weeks I will be focusing on what we can do here in the North East to boost and improve trade and investment so more jobs are created right here in our region.

Whislt Labour MP's maybe determine to talk down the economic future of the North East I want to make it clear to job creators and investors that the North East is open for business.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Council Tax - GOOD News

I hope readers will welcome the fact that Council tax across the UK is to fall for the first time in 18 years.

On average residents will save up to £72 a year. All but a few town halls will cut or freeze council tax after the Government gave extra funding to local government.

It is the first decrease since 1993.

The Government has also scrapped Labour's council tax revaluation plans which would have hammered many local residents. Where Councils refuse to listen and do decide to raise Council Tax we have given local residents new rights to veto excessive council tax rises in the future.

This is real help now to assist with the cost of living.

Ed Miliband's Shadow Ministers oppose this council tax freeze. Never Forget: Council Tax doubled under Labour.

SEN Reform

Parents of children with special educational needs (SEN) regular need to come to see me at my local Advice Surgeries. Too often parents, already under great strain have to battle the establishment to get the support their child deserves.

Even though we are often able to help, the frustration parents face with endless delays, multiple layers of paperwork and bureaucracy, and a lack of coordination between services is a real living nightmare.

I am proud to be able to say this Government is tackling this problem with a Green Paper which sets out the biggest programme of reform in the education and health support for children with special educational needs and disabilities in 30 years.

Proposals include:

a legal right to give parents control of budgets for their child's care
a single assessment process with a combined education, health and care plan to replace the confusing statementing system
and a simplified new school based category to help teachers focus on raising attainment.

Finally parents and children may get the help and respect from the system they deserve.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Skills for Work: Whats NEW?

Exactly one month ago I launched my Skills for Work Campaign to highlight the importance of work experience and apprentichsips for young people.

Since then we have had some great feed back, got the Prime Minister to back our campaign, started the process of taking on our own apprentice Office Manager, and highlighted in the local and regional press the importantace of vocational training.

I wanted to report back on the some of the things the government and indeed business are now doing to drive forward this important agenda.

Firstly the government has put its money where its mouth is and had made a commitment to increase the budget for Apprenticeships to over £1,400 million in 2011-12.

UK firms including British Gas, Superdrug and Procter and Gamble will create thousands of new apprenticeship places this year. BT is offering 250 apprenticeships, BA are expanding their engineering apprenticeships to take on an additional 120 young people this year. Jaguar Land Rover, as reported on the blog earlier are also going to create 1,200 new Apprenticeship places. Although I am a bias supporter of engineering and manufacutruing we are seeing apprenticships across the economy with the news that 12,000 apprentices would complete their training at Morrison’s this year.

They are just some examples and we are seeing a real push for firms, big and small to help train the next generation. We want to see 100,000 more apprentices by 2014.
We will be working to create some 75,000 additional adult places than those promised by the previous government.

Our Skills for Work campaign will continue to highlight the importance of vocational education and work experience to young people, especially here in the North East.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Good News on housing

Some good news to report from the housing market today. The number of people looking to buy a house has increased for the first time in eight months - rising by 14.7%.

There has also been a 7.5% jump in the number of houses being offered for sale, which is the largest monthly increase for three years. The number sales agreed also jumped by a big 25% last month.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

£4.5bn boost for North East Economy

The Government has announced it is going ahead with a train-building deal worth £4.5bn to the regional economy. The deal will also see 500 jobs brought to County Durham and across the North-East.

Transport Minister Philip Hammond has given the go-ahead to the Intercity Express Programme - a project to deliver a new generation of high-speed trains.

The Japanese company now just needs to prove it has all the financing in place. Hitachi have pledged to build a giant assembly plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Good News.