Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tory Manifesto 'Makes Good Reading'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tory Manifesto 'Makes Good Reading'

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM ROBB

IN THE digital age, we're told that buying books is a declining pastime. But one book I bought this week has the capacity to change our national life.

In the Conservative manifesto, David Cameron has literally offered us an invitation to join the government of Britain and his ideas could have a really positive impact on the North East.

The greatest challenge facing the North East is the crisis of unemployment, especially among the young. The focus of the Conservative manifesto is to get the North East working. It says Cameron will ensure the whole country shares in rising prosperity by increasing the private sector's share of the economy in all regions of the country.

So, for example, his government will ensure we take advantage of our knowledge of the energy sector to produce low-carbon energy and increase gas storage. This will involve thousands of jobs in the offshore sector, which is so vibrant here. There are also great ideas to help much needed start-up businesses.

Another nugget concerns One North East. Rejecting the scare stories from Labour, the Conservative manifesto makes clear that if local councils and businesses want to maintain a regionally-based enterprise organisation to help with economic development they can do so.The Labour government's addiction to tax is squeezing money out of the North East. In the jobs blackspot of Tees Valley, the Government pledged pounds 30m of new money to help with the after-effects of the Corus closure.

However, next year the Government's National Insurance rise will take pounds 95m out of the Tees Valley economy. It will also drain money away from front-line public services, which will have to pay the tax in their capacity as employers.

The Conservatives will stop businesses and basic rate taxpayers having to pay this massive jobs tax, preventing tens of millions of pounds disappearing from the North East into Whitehall's bureaucracy.

Council tax is also a pressing problem for families in the region. Every March we open our council tax demands, concerned that they will have gone up by more than our income. …

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