Sunderland 'perfectly placed to reap the benefits' of Brexit - Boris Johnson gives his vision for the city after visit
Here, the Prime Minister writes for the Sunderland Echo about his visit to the city, and his ambitions for Wearside and the North East:
“Three and a half years ago, the people of Sunderland embraced their democratic right and voted decisively to leave the EU, paving the way for a new era of opportunity and prosperity for the country.
“And on Friday, we finally delivered on that right by leaving the EU and regaining our independence. Now together as one United Kingdom we are embarking on a new era, a path of national renewal and change.
“We are going to maximise the power of the North East, unleash its full potential and put the people of Sunderland in real control over the things that matter to you and your families.
“That’s why we’re investing over £379million as part of the North East LEP Local Growth fund to invest in transport, infrastructure and skills across the region, and why we’ve boosted Sunderland Council’s core spending power to improve your public services.
“And we are better connecting cities and towns across the UK to improve everyone’s access to education and employment – this includes upgrading roads and building cycle lanes in and around Sunderland and funding new trains on the Nexus Metro.
“We no longer accept that your life chances – your family’s life chances – should depend on which part of the country you grow up in.
“To address this, every child in every school in the North East will benefit from a significant increase in funding, providing over £70 million more for your children’s schools here next year alone. And I want your streets to be safer, which is why we’re putting 20,000 more police officer on the streets, including more than 300 for the North East over the next year with hundreds more being recruited over the next three years.
“Visiting Sunderland on Friday, I saw the cutting edge work being done by AMAP - the virtual reality technology that is improving business efficiency, the 3D printing labs that are helping to innovate product design and the new inventions and green energy cars on the Innovation Factory floor that are driving sustainability and carbon reduction.
“The National Glass Centre, where glass-making was first introduced to Britain, is a hub of creativity, and while my attempts may not have been as impressive as those I met, I even had the chance to learn a new skill, having a go at glass blowing before we held our weekly Cabinet meeting there with every Cabinet minister in this Government.
“We all had the chance to spend time with and speak to incredible and energetic apprentices, businesses and young people from the area to get their insight on the challenges and opportunities facing Sunderland and the wider region, and their views helped shape the discussion at our Cabinet meeting.
“This is exactly what we as a Government need to be doing – getting out and hearing directly from you how we can better support your area to level up opportunities and unleash the North East’s potential.
“It’s clear to me that Sunderland is perfectly placed to reap the benefits as we go out to strike new trade deals across the world and grow our economy. Three and a half years after you voted for change, now is the moment that we begin a new chapter, moving on and investing in our NHS, cutting crime and improving education so that once again we are truly focusing on your priorities.
“And this Government will work tirelessly to support your city, all parts of the North, and our great UK as a whole, in embracing the unique opportunities ahead. It is our promise to you that we will create the conditions to make the most of the ingenuity, energy and community spirit that exists here in bounds – and we won’t let you down.”