MAYOR ELECTION: Jamie Driscoll (Lab) - candidate statement

An election for the North of Tyne Combined Authority Mayor will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2019. To help you make your decision each candidate has made a policy statement. This is what Jamie Driscoll, standing for the Labour Party, says.

By Politics reporter
Friday, 26 April, 2019, 10:07
Jamie Driscoll, who is standing for the Labour Party in the North of Tyne mayoral election on May 2.

'I’ve lived in the North East my whole life and I’m proud my children will grow up in a region that has so much to offer.

Our coast is beautiful, our history is spectacular and as a people we’re famous for our warmth. But for too long prosperity has only spread so far – to London or Manchester.

The North East was the beating heart of the industrial revolution. We’re rightfully proud of our industrial history. Hydro-electricity was invented in Northumberland. The lightbulb was invented on Tyneside.

The shipyards and the mines employed generations of workers. Not anymore. That’s why, as Mayor for North of Tyne I want to bring green jobs that our children can be proud to take up, like so many of our families once did in coal, in engineering and in the shipyards.

Northumberland leads the way in renewable energy, supporting hundreds of skilled jobs for the region. As Mayor, I want to kick start the Green Industrial Revolution in Northumberland.

I left school at 16 and worked in industry. I worked hard, and qualified as an engineer. I worked in manufacturing in Northumberland and Newcastle, I know how to make things work.

Our national economy is too London focused. We can help boost our region by helping small and local businesses win public sector work. Keeping money local puts more money in your pocket.

We can get anchor institutions – hospitals, schools, universities – to spend their money in way that boosts our local economy. And with this framework in place, we can encourage large private sector firms to join in too.

I will set up a People’s Bank for the region that will be owned on a cooperative model. It will offer mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and business banking. The profits will be reinvested in our region, rather than leaking out to London’s banking sector.

The poor state of public transport across Northumberland causes significant problems for people wanting to access services, employment, education and even just to get out and about. I’ll introduce a smart-system of joint ticketing across all bus, rail and Metro services, to speed up services, and work towards a bookable-on-demand bus system linking small towns and villages.

Rural Northumberland has suffered, with services cut and shops closing. I’ll turn underused public buildings into community hubs. We’ll set up high-speed broadband, put in free wifi, desks and workshop space – for those who want to start up a small business. We’ll run adult education courses, and work with other public sector providers to get some services run more locally.

I’ll build co-operative social housing on fair rents, so young people can stay here, and specialist housing for older people who want to retain their independence.

These will be built with modern, eco-friendly methods to keep them warm, and have built in solar power generation.

We need somebody with a common-sense approach. The key to this is keeping money in our region, so everyone has more cash in their pocket. We need a mayor to stand up for everyone in the region, so that nobody is left behind.

As Mayor for North of Tyne, I’ll create prosperity we can all be part of.'

Jamie Driscoll is a 48-year-old engineer.

The other candidates in the mayoral election are: Dr John Appleby (LibDem); Charlie Hoult (Con); Hugh Jackson (UKIP) and John McCabe (Ind).