Today, John McCabe has launched his manifesto for the role of North of Tyne Mayor, outlining his plans for the region should he (hopefully) be voted into office.
John McCabe’s manifesto for the North of Tyne mayoral election
On 2 May, voters across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland will elect the first ever North of Tyne mayor. The new mayor will have responsibility for delivering a dynamic and more inclusive economy, one that brings together people and investment to create vibrant communities and a high quality of life, narrowing inequalities and ensuring that all residents have a stake in our region’s future.
This is a massive opportunity for our region, and the people of the North of Tyne must now decide who they want to lead it and represent them. And the choice is becoming clear, it’s either more of the same chaos from the traditional political parties, or the fresh new approach I am offering as the only independent candidate in the election.
Since confirming my candidacy, I’ve travelled extensively across the North of Tyne, meeting people of all ages and from all backgrounds. I’ve been keen to hear from them about their hopes for the future as well as their concerns with the current state of politics in our country.
We have huge potential here. Our region is packed full of talented, hard working people, who want to live, work and succeed in one of the most beautiful and inspiring parts of the country. We have the opportunity to do something different to ensure that potential is at last fulfilled.
I’ve listened carefully and today I launch my full manifesto. If I’m elected on 2 May, this is what I will deliver as North of Tyne mayor:
Opportunity for our economy
In the first five year term, the mayor will preside over a £100m investment fund. I will ensure every pound is spent on closing the economic gap that exists between North of Tyne and other regions of the UK.
I will establish a new inward investment service to collaborate with private and public sector to attract new foreign direct investment into the North of Tyne. This will play to our region’s economic strengths such as digital and tech, life sciences, offshore energy and advanced manufacturing and it will adopt a sector-specific approach to attracting inward investment.
In 2018, the North East achieved its highest ever level of exports – yet still only 3% of our businesses trade overseas. I will draw on my experience as former President of the North East England Chamber of Commerce to work with existing and potential exporters to support their access to international markets.
Anyone starting a business will have access to an experienced mentor who can provide guidance and support in the critical early stages.
We will promote North of Tyne as the ideal place for London-based professional services firms to relocate their office staff. And we should push for the major Government offices to be front of the queue when the public sector is testing new technologies, working with local businesses to help them benefit too.
Opportunity for our schools
Every school will have access to a specialist mental health counsellor so each child will receive the support they need, when they need it. I recently met with a headteacher who has to spend £250 every week on having a counsellor attend school for one-and-a-half days. The school is struggling to afford this but the headteacher explained it’s been good not only for the wellbeing of her pupils but also for their academic achievement. That shouldn’t be a difficult budget choice headteachers have to make against other priorities – it should be an investment we help them make in our children’s future.
Computer coding will be taught in every primary school and as children move through the system, those with a particular interest or talent for computer sciences will receive mentoring and a high standard of work experience.
Opportunity for our communities
We’ll secure the best digital and transport connections so that our vibrant city, proud local communities, and wonderful coast and countryside can all be part of this region’s success.
Our town centres are under increasing pressure. Last year, four high street shops closed every week across the North East. My transport plan, including investment in public transport, parking facilities and extended cycle routes, will ensure better access to our town centres, enabling more people to shop at our fantastic range of independent retailers.
We should strive to be ahead of the game on digital connectivity, not just as good as the rest. All parts of the region should benefit from this – so I will focus on rural fibre broadband just as much as finding areas where we can pioneer 5G. And let’s use the digital talent we have in the region to better connect all our communities, keeping the elderly and most vulnerable among us safe in their homes.
On housing we’ll have a focus on preventing anyone from North of Tyne who wants to stay in their community, be it rural or urban, from having to move to get on the housing ladder. A comprehensive first-time buyer strategy will ensure a supply of suitable homes is delivered across the area. We will work with social landlords on innovative approaches to ‘rent to buy’ and we will provide access to financial advice and will work with the finance sector to develop a more responsive approach to housing finance, putting an end to ‘computer says no’.
Opportunity for our environment
Politicians have neglected our infrastructure for decades. Our region will not feel the benefit of HS2 without local infrastructure improvements. But we know the investments that could change this. I will use the mayor’s influence to secure commitments to upgrade the East Coast Main Line before the development of a new HS2 line.
I will collaborate across the private and public sectors to make a case to government for the long-overdue, game-changing investment we need in public transport.
The North of Tyne can be the premier destination in the UK for cycling. Let’s build on what we have started by creating new, safer routes connecting our towns and countryside. And let’s capitalise on the fantastic exposure we receive from being a key stage in the Tour of Britain race.
Our housing should be both environmentally sustainable and affordable to run. So I will work to ensure far greater numbers of new homes – including social housing – are built with features such as solar panels already installed.
We can do more to promote recycling initiatives across a range of household goods and we’ll start in schools where our children are champions for their green planet.
Opportunity for the future
I will establish a Mayoral Commission on Opportunity. This will examine all aspects of diversity, equality, social mobility and mental health to ensure everybody has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. We’ll break the glass ceiling and remove any remaining barriers to opportunity.
We will build on this first stage of devolution by harnessing the talent, drive and innovation that exists in this wonderful region of ours and use it to make a case government cannot ignore for more funding and more decisions taken locally here in the North of Tyne.
This is my offer to the people of the North of Tyne. All of these opportunities are achievable but at a time when our political system is so fractured they can only be fulfilled by an independent mayor, free from the influence of the traditional parties.
If I’m elected on 2 May, I will be fully accountable to you and I will put my heart and soul into realising our potential and creating the North of Tyne we all deserve.
Check out John McCabe’s website here – https://www.mccabe4mayor.co.uk/