Rachel Reeves has backed The Northern Echo’s election manifesto, saying: “I hope the next Labour Government can make you proud.”

Labour’s shadow chancellor visited engineering firm Teescraft in Bishop Auckland on Wednesday alongside Labour candidate Sam Rushworth to outline the party’s plans to grow the economy and create well-paid, sustainable jobs in the region. 

The visit came just one day after The Echo launched its six-point campaign ahead of the General Election on July 4, demanding the future Government deals with serious issues plaguing the North East head-on.

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Now, Ms Reeves praised The Echo’s manifesto, saying she hopes the next Labour Government can deliver on the keys pledges, including resolving hardship, securing uncertain jobs, and tackling devastating knife-crime once and for all. 

On Wednesday, we asked Ms Reeves: “Is the Labour Party committed to sticking to the Northern Echo’s six manifesto commitments?” Here's what she had to say. 


Secure the future of Hitachi 

Hundreds of jobs remain on the line at Hitachi after a production gap in orders left the site’s future uncertain. We are asking the next Prime Minister to plug the gap and secure the firm. 

Ms Reeves said: "Labour have committed [and] I have committed to varying those contracts to bring forward work and bring out new procurement that Hitachi can bid for and I'm confident they're confident that they can win."


Take fast action on knife crime

We asked the next Government to tackle knife crime, following the tragic and avoidable deaths of several youngsters in our region. 

Ms Reeves said: “I know that Keir [Starmer] and Yvette [Cooper] have met some of the families who have been victims of knife crime. 

“We've committed to 13,000 new police officers and community support officers to tackle crime, as well as banning zombie knives.”


Reduce child poverty 

Poverty and hardship remain a major barrier in the North East - and we want the next PM to outline exactly how he plans to sort this key issue

“Reducing child poverty. I mean, that's in Labour's DNA,” she said. “It's what the last Labour Government did, lifting a million children out of poverty was a big part of Kim McGuinness's campaign, and it will be central to the next Labour Government.

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Save the dental desert

Spiralling waiting lists have left dental services in the UK “hanging by a thread.” We want the next Government to sort the dental deserts. 

Ms Reeves said she was talking to Mr Rushworth about the important issue: “He said that every other family he speaks to has got a story about not being able to access dental services.

“That's why we've said that we would crack down on tax avoidance, get rid of the non-dom loopholes, whereby non-dom’s don't pay their fair share of tax, and use that money for 40,000 additional appointments in the NHS every week, as well as 700,000 additional appointments every year, emergency dental appointments, so that people can get the dental treatment they need.

“Too many parts of our country, of dental deserts, including here in County Durham.”


Commit to a statutory public inquiry into the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust (TEWV)

In recent years, TEWV has come under fire - and we have asked leaders to commit to a statutory public inquiry into the mental health trust. 

We need to make sure that we act on the recommendations of the inquiry,” she explained. “I  know as well that Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary, has agreed to meet with the families of those affected by these real tragedies.”


Commit to exam mitigations for RAAC-hit school

St Leonard’s, a secondary school in Durham, became one of just two secondary schools in England to completely close due to the reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) crisis.

We asked leaders to commit to exam mitigations for the school so students, who were forced to learn online or in temporary classrooms, have a fair chance at their future.

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She said: “When I was at school in the 80s and 90s, I was taught in a prefab hut because there wasn't investment into our schools. I know the damage that does to children's education. We are determined to ensure that all children are taught in a school that is safe and secure.

“Too many children, including here in the North East of England, don't have that today. We will ensure that every child gets the very best start in life.”

As a final message, Ms Reeves said: “Thank you to The Northern Echo for publishing this manifesto. I hope the next Labour Government can make you proud and deliver on these pledges.”