Figures released last week revealed that Middlesbrough (23.9%) and Hartlepool (27.4%) are among the towns in the UK with the highest concentration of workless households.
As someone who lives on Teesside I can’t pretend that I was surprised by the figures. This area has been underfunded and neglected for decades – successive Tory and Labour governments have shown little to no sign that they have even been interested in helping this area.
We need investment in long-neglected areas such as local infrastructure, public transport (anyone who has ever got a train from Hartlepool, or sat in gridlock just outside Middlesbrough will understand this very clearly) and roads – this investment will help attract new employers to the area. In order to support and fill these new jobs we will need significant investment in education and this must not be limited to schools; we must ensure that adults are being trained with the skills they need to get into stable employment in a modern workforce.
Politicians sitting in London muttering about the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ will not fix these problems; investment is needed, not rhetoric.
Jonathan Arnott MEP