North East MEP Jonathan Arnott has expressed grave concerns for the region after a new report has highlighted its gloomy economic position.
“The House Price Index report from the Office for National Statistics states that ‘the North East is the only English region yet to surpass its pre-economic downturn peak. Prices in the North East remain 2.4% below the peak of January 2008.’
“That is a very depressing picture and as all the hype about the Northern Powerhouse appears to be just that, particularly as far as this region is concerned, I feel sadly pessimistic,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP and member of the EU budget committee.
“I have said all along that this so called Powerhouse will only live up to its promise if it is properly funded and every statistic that emerges from the North East shows that it is always the Cinderella at the ball.
“There is fantastic economic potential just waiting to be unleashed but it needs a careful and well-thought out strategy and investment. Transport links are a key to this but so far we have just seen proposed rail network improvements downgraded and delayed and proposals for the much needed dualling of the A1 revealed as covering just 13 miles.
“Only last month employment figures showed the North East still has the highest unemployment rates in the country at 8.5% compared with the national average of 5.5%. and average weekly earnings have fallen.
“This litany of downward trends and government neglect must not be allowed to continue. The region is literally crying out for help and the government must put its money where its mouth is,” said Mr Arnott.