Dear Newcastle,

This has been a busy end to the parliamentary year, with, in quick succession, the Autumn Economic Statement, Innovation for Growth strategy and the  European Council meeting

Despite overwhelming evidence that people all over the country, and particularly in Newcastle, are suffering, the Chancellor refused to change course in the Autumn statement. Unemployment in Newcastle Central rose to  9.9%, the 59th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. Across the country million young people have no job or training.  We are isolated in Europe although it is our largest market. The survival of the Euro hangs in the balance, massively impacting our own economy, but we are not part of the conversation.  Eurosceptics are in high spirits, but  most observers believe the Prime Minister gained nothing for the UK, but business, confidence and European collaboration and co-operation will all suffer.

The Government also published two ‘major’ innovation reports, one on Life Sciences and one more generally on innovation and growth.  However the policies outlined are very limited, there is no game changer to inspire the growth we need.

Just as we entered the festive season,  Carrillion sent out redundancy notices to its employers because the Government drastic slashing of solar panel subsidies means its business is in trouble.

With Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead, I met with the Energy minister, Greg Barker, to discuss the situation at Carillion and what needs to be done to keep the jobs.  He said he was listening and I can only hope he was.

At this time of the year when people want to forget their worries and celebrate with families, I know there are many in Newcastle are concerned for their jobs, whether in the private or public sector.  I hope everyone manages to have a good Christmas and that 2012 brings us the opportunity to work together for a brighter economic outlook for Newcastle.

Backbench Parliamentary Contributions

I spoke at FCO questions on trade in Africa, Energy Topicals  on Carillion, and during a Government statement on the Northern Rock announcement.  I  intervened in the BBC cuts debate and also secured a Westminster Hall debate on Public Service Broadcasting in the North East, which went well and received much coverage.



We succeeded in posting casework breakdown pie charts on the website, which will be updated monthly.  I continue to receive a huge volume of letters, emails and phone calls, over  1500  per week. 


Meetings included:  York City Council, Peter Ingram, Broadwood school, Ann Nicholl, Reserve Forces Association, BAE, Jacqui Brooks, Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Geological Society, Ofcom, Next Gen Skills, Terrance Higgins Trust, Warm Front Launch, Google Luvvies & Boffins, IET Woman Engineer of the Year, Royal Society of chemistry, Association of Train Operating Companies, Digital Switchover, Newcastle CC Finance Director, LGC, Scottish And Southern Electric, Authors Licensing and Collecting Society, Ismail Hanif, Search


Speaking engagements included: Labour Friends of France, Wingrove, Fenham, Blakelaw and Kenton joint ward meeting, Bite the Ballot debate,  Federation of Small Businesses Broadband Report launch, IET lunch, Nigerian Association for Project Professionals, PICTFOR Comms Act Seminar, London Chamber of Commerce Migration conference, Deans of Science, ADS Launch Young Professionals in Defence

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