I’m always wary of making criticism of how the Brexit negotiations are going as no matter how I couch it, there will be those who interpret it as something it’s not. So, let me start this week’s column by making it absolutely clear. We are leaving the EU. No ifs or buts.
That said, when I was elected as Hartlepool’s MP six months ago I made a pledge that I would always speak up for the people of Hartlepool and the wider interests of the town.
It was that pledge I had in mind when I found myself flabbergasted by David Davis’s confession that no economic impact assessment was ever done on the effects of Brexit. In layman’s terms that means no calculations on the effect on jobs, industry and household incomes of leaving the EU. Put bluntly, did anybody, during the referendum, tell the 6,700 Nissan workers in Sunderland the effects a hard Brexit may have, bearing in mind that 85% of the cars they produce are destined for Europe?
I know there are many Nissan workers in Hartlepool as well as people who work for companies who supply parts to Nissan. It’s their interests I always have in mind when I debate Brexit.
The main reason I’m in this job is to try to help people. People count and they should never be taken for granted. I believe the Tories are doing that right now by playing Euro dodgeball with the future livelihoods of thousands of workers in our region.
So, yes, we are leaving Europe. But let’s make sure that exit doesn’t bring misery and economic hardship to families in Hartlepool.
l TO the governor of the Bank of England, economists and many politicians, this week’s inflation figures are just numbers. The rise in the cost of living will have no impact on them.
Sadly, for thousands of families in Hartlepool, the rise in prices of everyday items is having a massive impact.
There are many people who are living on the breadline and even a couple of pence on the cost of a bunch of bananas or a tin of baked beans will mean the difference between getting to the end of the week with a few bob to spare or going without.
If you don’t think it’s that bad, then just look at the numbers of working people using foodbanks.
So, when Tory Politicians say that inflation will start to fall next year, it won’t mean a jot to those struggling to make ends meet. They need help now. Jam tomorrow isn’t much use when you can’t afford bread today.
l I’m always keen to promote business in Hartlepool, whether it’s small businesses like Atkinson Print in Church Street, the excellent Railway Station cafe or our bigger employers. So, I am really pleased to learn that Able UK have completed a £6m upgrade and dredging to their Seaton Port site.
If the UK is to be a leading player in ethical and environmentally-friendly decommissioning of oil platforms, then there is no better place than Hartlepool to do that - as long as jobs remain local.