Whether or not we are in ‘meltdown’ is a moot point. We are certainly not in a good place regarding job losses and their knock-on effects on the local economy.
The global context is not good: we have not dealt with the underlying causes of the 2008 crash especially in relation to the structures of Finance and Banking. Global growth is mixed especially in manufacturing and our own recovery is still too dependent on Service and Finance sectors.
Climate change effects, foreign policy failures in the Middle East and the humanitarian crisis of refugees are interwoven with the economic crises that challenge us.
We are not helpless: there are choices ahead that will impact on our ability to be best placed to weather the present crises and forge a better future.
1. Vote to remain in the EU. – Reforms should be ongoing but there should be no question of us leaving because we are best placed working inside the European Union.
2. Grasp the opportunity the City Deals offer for Tees Valley and the North East Combined Authorities. They are far from perfect but they are the only deals on offer for us to work together across local authorities in partnership with the corporate sector to create long-term economic growth and a vibrant north east. It is time to put aside petty parochialism and work together for the region as a whole.
3. Plan for the long term: prosperity will only come from encouraging innovation, enterprise and new developments. Giving our young people the future skills they need through FE and HE is critical for their future prospects.
Ian G L Jones
North East Liberal Democrats (Chair)