Please Credit Picture:Keith Taylor

Please Credit Picture:Keith Taylor

North East LEP Board Member and independent mayoral candidate Jeremy Middleton has warned jobs could go in the North East following Labour’s decision to halt devolution plans.

Mr Middleton said: “Local Labour politicians are threatening to press the self-destruct button on the region’s economy because they are scared to fight an election. This decision, which could mean the region loses jobs and investment, has been taken because they saw their power-base in the North East threatened in the EU referendum.

“This is not a time for playing political games. It is more important than ever to make the case that the North East is open for business. However they have sent out the opposite message. While the leaders of Manchester, Liverpool, London, Sheffield and Teesside are championing investment, our politicians are effectively turning it away.

“This decision also risks our seat at the top table. While other regions will have strong advocates making the case for investment and devolved powers, we will be left without a voice.

“The Mayors of Manchester, Liverpool and London will be rubbing their hands together knowing that Labour in the North East would rather save their own skins than fight for our fair share of funding.

“What our leaders don’t realise is that following the Brexit vote, the Northern Powerhouse and devolution agenda is more important than ever. The devo-deal would mean real power to change our region for the better, with new budgets to create more jobs and get better skills for our kids, and to improve our transport and NHS.”