IN response to Peter Molloy’s letter (Echo, Mar 10) I can inform him that I replied to all those who signed the petition about jobs in the Spennymoor area.

I wrote to advise that the claim made on the petition that the Durham Gate project didn’t benefit people from the local area is inaccurate.

Figures clearly demonstrate that the project has been beneficial to the area in a number of ways. For instance 76 per cent of the workers involved in the construction of the building are from the North- East. In addition, some 98 per cent of people involved in the highway upgrade aspect of the project are from the region.

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What’s more, 60 per cent of the suppliers and contractors supporting the project are based in the North-East – boosting the regional economy.

In short, Durham Gate is both good for jobs and good for the local economy.

However, high unemployment is still a serious problem despite the benefits brought to the area by the Durham Gate project.

I also reject entirely Mr Molloy’s accusation that I don’t care about the people of Spennymoor.

I care profoundly about the people of Spennymoor and that’s why I’m working hard in parliament to secure jobs and investment for the local area.

The Tory-led Coalition’s regressive cuts are inflicting immense damage on the area and I’m doing all I can to oppose them.

Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland.