Sir Keir Starmer has backed The Northern Echo’s election manifesto saying the next Labour government plans to “deliver it from day one.”

The Labour leader - who supported the campaign at a visit to Whale Hill Primary School in Teesside on Tuesday - said all six points were “key priorities” for the party. 

The manifesto, published in The Northern Echo last week, asked the Government to commit to tackling several serious issues plaguing the North East. 

Sir Keir Starmer holding a copy of The Northern Echo (Image: THE NORTHERN ECHO)

These include securing the future of Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe plant, taking fast action on knife crime, reducing child poverty, sorting dental deserts and waiting list backlogs, committing to a statutory public inquiry into the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust (TEWV), and exam mitigations for RAAC-hit school St Leonard’s.

Holding a copy of The Northern Echo’s front page campaign launch, Mr Starmer said key points in the manifesto were “already wrapped into our plans” for the next Government. 

He explained: “Not only are we in support of the work that you are doing, we've actually got the plan in place to make sure we can deliver it from day one. 

Sir Keir Starmer and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting  (Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

“That sits alongside our six first steps, which are the steps that we say we'll be able to get on with in government from day one.

“So six first steps which are to do with stabilising the economy, making sure the NHS waiting lists come down, make sure GB Energy is set up so we can tackle the cost of living crisis. 

“That's the choice of the election - carry on with the chaos and division that's led us to you having to produce these commitments, turn the page, a fresh start with Labour, and day one get those first six steps started.”

Mr Starmer spoke about the campaign alongside Anna Turley, Labour and Co-Operative Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar, and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting.

The backing comes just days after Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves backed the campaign, saying she hopes the next Government “can make you proud.”

His visit to the region came as the Labour Party vowed to create an extra 100,000 urgent dental appointments for children in a bid to clear spiralling waiting lists. 

The Northern Echo previously reported how the service was left "hanging by a thread" with some people even resorting to “pulling out their own rotting teeth” after struggling to secure an appointment. 

Labour's Child Health Action Plan proposes the introduction of supervised brushing and hopes to double the number of NHS scanners in a bid to “put a smile back on kids’ faces.”

To recruit more dentists, the party plans to reform the dental contract and bring in signing-on bonuses, with the overall proposals set to cost £109 million a year. 

Mr Starmer said: “I'm really pleased that today we're here at this school dealing with one of them, which is the health of our children, which is a real indicator of the state of the nation and making sure that our children are healthy [and] have healthy teeth.

“We've been doing supervised toothbrushing this morning [and] we're talking about energy drinks and making sure they're not available to those that are under 16.”

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After speaking with the Whale Hill pupils on the playground, Mr Starmer was asked why a caramel macchiato - renowned for having a high caffeine content - was not included in a proposed drink ban by the party. 

He responded: “Because this is aimed at children and the sort of drinks available, the energy drinks that they are drinking. I think Monster is the number one. Just to give you a sense of that, the caffeine in that is the equivalent of several espressos.” 

He argued this was not only having a “very detrimental effect” on kid's teeth but also having “such an effect on children’s behaviour.”