'The North East needs change and the hard work starts now', North East Mayor Kim McGuinness writes, after joining Sir Keir Starmer's meeting of mayors on Tuesday.

The North East needs change and the hard work starts now. That’s why I was proud to take the case for the North East to the heart of Government this week with a pitch for more investment and a bigger say over our future.

I joined with other mayors and our new Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in Downing Street to set out plans for a new era of taking power out of London, out of Whitehall, and back into local hands.

For too long, Westminster government after Westminster government has tightly gripped control, and held back opportunities and potential for our towns, cities and villages. 

That’s meant misguided decisions, which have held back working people across the North East, with elected local leaders having to fight for ever smaller pots of money. 

Now it’s time to take back control, and this new Government, working hand in hand with regional mayors, is laser focused on setting that potential free - we’re creating a full reset of the relationship between central and local government. 

I campaigned on a platform to make our region the home of real opportunity. That’s why earlier this week I wrote to Keir Starmer, outlining exactly how his new Government can help us in the North East realise that ambition. 

By saving the nearly 800 jobs at Hitachi, something readers of The Northern Echo will absolutely recognize the importance of.

By supporting our efforts to tackle child poverty. This region has the highest child poverty in the country and we need change. I have already started putting together a plan to reverse some of this, and with the support of Government believe we can go even further. 

By improving our public transport. I promised to bring our buses back under public control. Something Labour’s Take Back Control Act will make even easier. Putting passengers and our communities at the heart of our public transport network, not shareholders profits. 

By expanding the North East’s Green Economy. Backing our region’s expertise in offshore wind, through investment in our ports, infrastructure and businesses looking to invest in the region, we can create thousands of new jobs. 

And finally by going further and faster on devolution. 

I’m glad that the Prime Minister has already taken that seriously and is committed to matching our ambition for our region. By bringing our Mayors around the table for a proper, grown up conversation, we can kickstart economic growth by delivering better housing, jobs and education for local people. 

The Prime Minister reassured me that work will now continue, at pace, to move more powers out of Whitehall and into our communities with upcoming legislation promised in the manifesto.

I am so excited for the future of our region. With a Labour Mayor, working hand in hand with our newly elected Labour MPs and a Labour Government, we can deliver real change for all of the North East.