SEDGEFIELD’S Tory MP Paul Howell called on the Government to press ahead with its “levelling up” agenda as he became one of the last of his intake to make a maiden speech in the Commons.

Speaking last night he said: “In deciding what our next actions should be we need to ensure we don’t just look to recover to where we were, but rather to where we want to be.

“Remember that before coronavirus, we had committed to the communities that had been left behind, that we would level up this United Kingdom.

“With Sedgefield being equidistant from the north coast of Scotland and the south coast of England we are the perfect place to start.”

He added: “We need to take every opportunity to find ways to support job retention and creation to minimise as far as possible the impact on our people and their economic opportunities.

“There are businesses, particularly many new start ups and self employed that have fallen through the gaps of the incredible efforts delivered by the Chancellor and I would ask him if at all possible to take another look at how we can help them survive and grow.”

The MP, who spoke highly of his Labour predecessor Phil Wilson, suggested the Government combine economic delivery with its levelling up agenda by delivering promises on infrastructure, for example.

He said: “We have several of our villages named after railway stations, examples being Ferryhill Station, Trimdon Station and Station Town, it is noticeable that none of these now have a railway station.

“Ferryhill is an obvious place to start, it is something that has been campaigned for since it was closed in the Beeching era and not even Tony Blair an incumbent Labour Prime minister for ten of his 24 years as the Sedgefield MP managed to deliver it, maybe its time has come.”

Mr Howell said he would also like to see a mechanism for getting funding support direct to community groups like Deaf Hill Regeneration Group and Ferryhill ladder.

He added: “The opportunity to relocate Government departments, like possibly the Treasury to the North-East, preferably Sedgefield, can both improve local economies and Government understanding but also reduce pressure on the house and travel densities in London.”