We now have less than 30 days to decide the future of our country. The choice in the North East is especially stark.

Whoever wins the Election, it is clear there are going to be huge cuts in public spending. Sadly, the state of the North East economy means that this will have a bigger impact here than in any other region. That is because the majority of our economy is paid for by the public sector – a dependency on tax payers that is greater than in any other part of the country, and a dependency that has grown under this government.

Our current government has put off the day of reckoning that follows its massive spending programmes until after the Election, because it knows it may lose. It is pretending that we don’t need to tackle our debt yet….and by doing so has made our problems worse.

A re-elected Labour government would see our debt rise further in 2010, and interest rates rise with it. It would see taxes rise on businesses and jobs. Our region does not need more civil servants, it doesn’t need more taxes on jobs, it doesn’t need bogus training schemes and it doesn’t need to force our younger people onto degree courses that don’t lead anywhere just to massage the unemployment figures.

Our region needs a business-led recovery – one led by manufacturers and exporters. We need low interest rates, we need a boost for businesses willing to take on workers, and an explosion in apprenticeships – delivering real skills for real jobs.

As you can tell, I for one will be voting for change in the North East.

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