Double Halloween horror show for the North East!

This Halloween we potentially have the double horror show of both the furlough scheme ending and the deadline for a Brexit deal to be made. The North East is set to be the worst affected economically by a No Deal Brexit which is where we seem to be heading.  All this in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis which has already led to too many job losses and, with furlough ending, thousands more are set to follow.

The North East is no stranger to economic hardship. Shipyard closures in the twentieth century took place during economic slumps and occurred in two phases between 1909 to 1933 and 1960 to 1993.

The region is famous for its 1936 Jarrow to London march against unemployment and poverty.  Although initially perceived as a failure, in subsequent years, this march was acknowledged by historians as a defining event of that decade.

The North East, of course, also faced tumultuous times during the pit closures of the 80s and 90s.  Some of the former mining areas never truly fully recovered.  However, there was one big saviour in this crisis and this was the Nissan factory which brought thousands of jobs to the area. 

Unfortunately, Nissan has said they cannot stay in the region in the face of a No Deal Brexit. Who will replace them if they go? Nissan only came here  because of access to the single market.   Although, it was often quoted that we could still stay in the single market if we left the EU, this seems to have been ruled out by the Westminster government. It is, therefore, unlikely that we will have another such rescuer in the form of a big company. However you voted in the 2016 referendum, it probably wasn’t to be worse off.

 The UK government promised that they would ‘level up the North East’ after the Tory election win at the end of last year. However, to date we have not seen much evidence of this happening. Let us not revisit the disastrous times of our pit closure past. 

We must stave off this biggest Halloween horror show of all to save the North East, once again, from ruin.

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