Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary
Northumberland NE61 2EF
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Conservative motion will ‘kill Northumberland jobs’
Sanderson motion contradicts coalition plans for renewable energies.
Only 24 hours after Conservative Chancellor George Osbourne and Liberal leader and Deputy PM Nick Clegg announced a ‘brave new dawn in the North East for the fledgling renewable energy industry’, Conservative councillors in Northumberland have tabled a motion calling for ‘a drastic reduction in subsidy to renewable energy sector’ which it is feared will hit private sector investment plans in Northumberland and on the North Bank of the Tyne enterprise zone project.
Northumberland has a big stake and potential to increase economic investment in the renewable energy sector with the biggest non retail private sector employer NAREC located in the county and the motion is being interpreted as a ‘major attack on job creation in Northumberland and the North East.
In a visit to the North East only 24hrs before the Conservative motion, presented by Tory deputy leader Glen Sanderson was tabled for discussion at the next council meeting on 5 Sept, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was claiming ‘he continues to stand up for Tyneside jobs in the face of opposition to wind and renewable energy subsidies’.
The motion calls for ‘the Council to write to the Secretary of State to request that the subsidies for onshore wind power via the Renewables Obligation, the Feed-in Tariff, and the forthcoming Electricity Market Reform package are drastically reduced to prevent speculative and inappropriate development’.
Labour leader Grant Davey who represents Kitty Brewster ward in Blyth said
‘Since the sad demise of Alcan, NAREC is now the largest non retail private sector employer in Northumberland and this motion will damage the chance to attract new jobs in the renewable energy sector for our county and the North East as a whole. This will damage business confidence and just as the coalition are signalling that they want to ‘grow the private sector’, this motion is a sledge hammer to crack a nut. Northumberland Tories obsession with wind turbines is dangerously inward looking and I fear this motion seeks to put party politics before economic prosperity. We should be backing local business and local jobs and many employees at NAREC have relocated to the county (especially Cramlington) because they thought the council was backing ‘green investment’. This motion shows the local Tories have lost the plot and are now undermining the aims of their own government’.
Ronnie Campbell, Labour MP for Blyth said
‘Local Tories are attempting to kill off job creation in a very important new industry. NAREC is very important to the future of the Northumberland economy and it’s important to my constituents. I’m amazed that 24hrs after his own Chancellor George Osborne and the Deputy PM Nick Clegg were urging more private sector investment to create jobs in the North East, Northumberland Tories were calling for drastic reductions in the subsidy to attract these new jobs. This is a massive slap in the face from Northumberland Tories to their government and I hope councillors will give this madcap motion short shrift on Wednesday’.
Labour MP Ian Lavery of Wansbeck said
‘At a time when the Labour team in Northumberland are lobbying the coalition government hard to secure subsidies to help create new business in the proposed Enterprise Zones, we have local Tories attacking local job creation. How do they think we’ll attract the new renewable industries to Northumberland when they are showing they are so patently anti-growth and anti-jobs? My prediction is that if this motion is carried on Wednesday, we’ll see fewer jobs created in Northumberland and that’s a disgrace. I’ve already lost Alcan and now local Tories want to stop new employers relocating into the area to create highly skilled ‘renewable jobs. Nick Clegg and George Osborne say they’ll stand up for North East jobs and this is their first test, they need to rein in Northumberland Tories.