Sunderland MP Bridget Phillipson pleads for a Government that 'helps fix the problems' after Boris Johnson's Cabinet visits Wearside
A Sunderland MP has called for an action plan to help get to the root of issues impacting the North East and its chance of a better future in the aftermath of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to the region.
The Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South posted a thread of tweets putting forward her views on what must be done to support the region following on from the Conservative Cabinet’s meeting on Wearside in the lead up to Brexit day.
The UK left the European Union at 11pm on Friday, January 31, following on from the June 2016 referendum vote which saw the country back the decision to leave.
The Sunderland events, held on the day of withdrawal, are believed to have been symbolic after the city became the first result through in the vote, with 61.3% – 82,394 votes – backing the move, while remain polled 38.7% with 51,930 votes, with a turnout of 64.8%.
During the visit, Mr Johnson’s Cabinet held a meeting at the University of Sunderland-run National Glass Centre, with the PM meeting schoolchildren and apprentices, as well as the university’s Institute for Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP).
Ministers also rode the Tyne and Wear Metro.
Following on from the visit, Ms Phillipson said via her @bphillipsonMP account in a thread of 15 messages: “So today the Cabinet is meeting in Sunderland.
“Heavy on symbolism, but what are they actually doing for people here? What problems aren’t they sorting?
“The Home Secretary will probably say something about more police, but the truth is that Northumbria Police has lost over 1,100 officers since 2010.
“Local people have suffered as anti-social behaviour is on the rise in many parts of our area.
“Nor are we likely to hear plans to reverse the loss of 270 firefighters from Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service between 2011 and 2019.
“The Communities, Housing and Local Govt Secretary probably won’t be announcing plans to deal with the 35% increase in rough sleeping in the North East since 2010
“The Health Secretary will talk about the big numbers in the Tory manifesto. But they’ve been running our health service since 2010.
“Just the other week we heard of overcrowding and bed shortages at Sunderland Royal with patients forced to sleep overnight in A&E and planned operations cancelled due to the huge strain our NHS is under.
“After almost a decade, we are no further forward in finding a solution to the crisis in social care, which adds to the pressure on hospitals. And where is the long-awaited Green Paper
“The Education Secretary visited Hetton School yesterday.
“I’m glad the government is finally taking an interest in schools in the North East, and I welcome any additional support
“But when all secondary schools in my constituency are deemed to ‘require improvement’ – not to mention other schools across the region – the meagre funding they’ve announced won’t be enough to give all our children the start in life they deserve
“The Brexit Secretary isn’t in a position to tell Nissan, its workers, or the wider supply chain exactly what level of access to the single market they will have and what the tariff and non-tariff barriers are going to be.
“The Work and Pensions Secretary doesn’t have a plan to end child poverty in our region.
“Almost four million emergency supplies have been given out by the Trussell Trust in NE since 2014.
“Over one in three children grow up in poverty. This shouldn't happen in a country as rich as ours.
“It’s great that the Transport Secretary has faced facts and renationalised Northern Rail.
“But we haven’t had any passenger rail services for decades. Hardly anyone in my constituency uses the train to get to work
“I’ll keep making the case for Metro and rail expansion, but we also need either an improved bus service or the powers to improve it locally – when will the government give us these?
Our region is capable of so much more, but we need government on our side to unleash that potential.
“World-leading industries, brilliant young people, a strong sense of community where we look out for one another: the North East is an amazing place, but could be better still.
“What we need is a government that helps fix the problems we face, and focuses on the future. Not a government lying about the past and running from its record.”