Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Equality Plan Is Backed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Equality Plan Is Backed

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

HUNDREDS of people backing a declaration to improve the North East are to set out how the region can help itself.

The Webb Memorial Trust, a charity pushing for greater socially equality, received hundreds of replies to its call for the region to back a January Declaration.

Their call to arms was made amid warnings over the long-term problems of allowing those who earn less to be treated as a burden to the region. 1

So far, more than 200 have signed up to a declaration which commits them to trying to improve living standards for all, including a look at the pay gap between the highest and lowest earners.

Those signing up include MPs Sir Alan Beith and Guy Opperman as well as Roberta Blackman-Woods, Chi Onwurah and Ian Mearns.

Council leaders across the region have also signed up, including South Tyneside's Iain Malcolm, Gateshead's Mick Henry and Newcastle's Nick Forbes as well as Hartlepool elected mayor Stuart Drummond And from the private sector several key names have come forward, including Sir Mike Darrington, former head of Greggs. Also backing the cause is David Clouston, of Silverlink Properties, set to lead the pounds 200m transformation of land behind Newcastle's Central Station.

They are joined by Tony Brookes - owner of The Cluny and the Head of Steam.

Early backers include Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards, the Right Reverend Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, former Metro boss Mike Parker, now honorary secretary at the Webb Memorial trust, Alastair Balls, chair of the Northern Rock Foundation, Susan Bickerton, head of veterans and offenders charity Norcare and Erica Whyman, chief executive at arts venue Northern Stage.

As the declaration continues to gather momentum, Mr Parker said there were many more showing an interest, from shopkeepers to city leaders. …

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