Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

He North East

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

He North East

Article excerpt

Byline: Chi Onwurah

HE North East is a region of makers and creators.

TGrowing up in the shadow of Stephenson, Parsons, Armstrong and other greats of our industrial past was part of what inspired me to study electrical engineering as a young woman.

Working as an engineer in Britain and around the world, I saw first-hand the contribution successful industries make to strong communities in countries from the United State to France to Nigeria.

I'm now proud to be Labour's Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, part of our Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy team under Shadow Secretary of State Clive Lewis.

It's our job to lay out Labour's vision for Britain as a prosperous and outward-looking twenty-first century economy. As the party of workers, forged in the original industrial revolution, we're proud to represent the values of the builders and creators who shaped our country.

Unfortunately, the Tories don't seem to share these values. It was the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher that forced deindustrialisation on much of the country in the 1980s, creating an avoidable source of social trauma that affects us to this day.

The North East suffered hugely, no-one who lived here in the Thatcher era will ever forget that combination of neglect and malice which destroyed our economic livelihood.

Since then, successive Conservative Governments - including the pre-2015 Conservative-Liberal coalition - have been obsessed with cutting, deregulating, and reducing the size of the state.

This has had disastrous effects: not just on manufacturing jobs and wages in Newcastle and the North East, but on our country's self-image as a confident, exporting nation.

This hasn't changed under Theresa May. It's clear that while the Prime Minister is happy to talk the talk on the economy, she's not prepared to follow-through with the hard work it will take to create a genuinely forward-looking industrial strategy.

We've seen nothing to indicate that this government will remedy the economic mistakes of the Cameron era, from stagnant wages to the explosion of zerohour contracts. …

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