As always the Durham Miners Gala was a roaring success this year with huge crowds enjoying the brass bands and the speakers in an atmosphere that was friendly, celebratory and full of hope. Aptly nicknamed ‘The Big Meeting’, it is not only a coming together of communities, families and like minded people, but it’s also a reflection of the true spirit of the North; aspirational, welcoming, tenacious and outward looking.

Exactly the kind of spirit and outlook that makes our region great and exactly why we must do all we can to protect and grow our economy, invest in our people, our industry and public services, and build on the natural potential and ambition that lies all around us.

Here in Hartlepool there is a vision and demand for regeneration and rejuvenation; there is a hunger for improvement and investment and a desire to make things better, move forward and march towards a brighter future for the Town and it’s people.

We need to because, according to an ONS Report on population projections released this week, if we don’t then by 2039 our population of working people under the age of 30 will have rapidly diminished. I will be exploring this in depth in my new role as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coastal Communities. We need our talented young workers to stay and help our communities to grow; we must have incentives for them in towns like ours.

In my opinion Hartlepool and the Tees Valley Region is in prime place to kick start the new green industrial revolution. The days of King Coal are long gone and there is a need to secure a carbon neutral energy sector in the face of the existing climate emergency. With our manufacturing, technological and scientific expertise, and our experience in off shore industries we have the true potential to be ahead of the curve in the development of new technologies such as carbon capture and storage, wind and hydrogen energy production. We have a terrific opportunity to generate the kind of investment, jobs and skills base the likes of which have not been seen for almost half a century now. We have the potential and the opportunity so let’s grab it with both hands.

That’s why I am pleased to see the Labour Party’s ambitions for the North compliment those we have for our Town. While our local party is working with the Fabian Society on creating co-operative models around procurement, inward investment and localised wealth creation, the national party in Government will stimulate and incentivise a Green Industrial Revolution here. We will create a Regional Development Agency with every pound spent generating £4.30 for the local economy, we will deliver 400,000 new jobs in the renewable energy sector and boost growth by creating a national investment bank supported by Regional Development Banks. Our ambition is to rebalance the economic north/south divide and supercharge our economy. Long overdue in my book.

Finally, a huge congratulations to England’s cricketers for their outstanding win in the Cricket World Cup. They have made us all proud with their skill and determination so let’s hope it leads us on to more victories in the future.

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