Conservative candidate for the North of Tyne mayor, Charlie Hoult, explains how the new role of Mayor offers the North East a real chance to start controlling its own destiny. The inaugural North of Tyne mayoral election will be held on 2 May 2019
The North of Tyne is a region with enormous opportunity, driven by the most passionate and hard-working people in the land. But we have suffered decades of Westminster neglect and the squabbles of local politics. The region needs to think bigger – with a mayor to represent us on the wider stage and the ability to deliver projects with impact on the ground.
The role of new Mayor is large – covering homes, transport and education – but the budget is quite small, so we won’t have the money to fix everything. So this role is as much about convening, co-ordinating and cheerleading for the region, to make sure solutions are found – working with business, public and non-profit sectors.
I have a strong track record in helping drive the region forward. My family business, Hoults Yard, provides workspaces for over 750 small business people. Ventures I’ve started employ 120 staff.
Beyond this, I founded Dynamo, a network to champion the 40,000+ people working in the North East’s tech sector. Dynamo has identified 4,000 tech vacancies in the region: proof that new jobs exist. Dynamo has initiated £100m in projects, including North East Futures UTC, a science-specialist state school for 600, and £30m for Newcastle University’s new National Innovation Centre for Data – a project we pushed in early devo talks.
As North of Tyne Mayor, I will generate access to £600m in funding. I want to grow this to deliver what the region needs. I will focus on five key areas:
- Grow jobs and new business
- Turbo-charge education
- Fix disjointed transport
- Invest in homes and community
- Celebrate regional pride.
We need a strong mayor to press our case at Westminster for increased funding to wipe out long-running inequality. It will take modern, inclusive leadership to steward the diverse teams that operate across our city, coast and countryside.
I’m also running for mayor because I fear the election of a mayor from the hard-left Momentum faction of the Labour party. This risks returning us to an era of strife and textbook economic experiments.I fear a return to these bad old days if the region elects Momentum in May.
In February, the North East was ranked at Number 1 in the UK for business growth, above even London, by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, contributing £3.1bn to the regional economy and a whopping rise of 48.9% since 2010. Let’s turbo-charge our current position, not risk a return to the slow lane.
Down the road in neighbouring Tees Valley, its elected mayor, Ben Houchen, has promoted an equally positive vision, taking back control from Westminster centralisation and making a real difference to the area he represents.
I want to do the same for North of Tyne, delivering on my overarching campaign theme of ‘Projects Not Politics’. That means getting things done, rather than just talking about it. I have the track record, the ideas and the intent to deliver for everyone.