I enjoyed heading back to my Sunderland roots this week and was proud to be able to visit as Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary. First stop was Nissan UK. Their presence in Sunderland is a huge source of local pride, providing good high-skilled jobs since the 1980s. We discussed Labour’s industrial strategy focused on long-term stability and ambitious growth. I then held a round table with business leaders from across the North East at my favourite place, the Stadium of Light. Few were impressed with the disappointing white elephant of the Government’s Levelling Up white paper, all hot air and no new money or vision for the North.

We also talked about how between an energy bill nightmare and a huge hike in food costs, Britain is on the cusp of a cost of living apocalypse. As I told the Sunderland Echo, Sunak, having been absent without leave on this front. His so called solution, announced this week, which sounds to me almost like a pay day loan is unlikely to achieve its goals.

Last week saw the dramatic despatch box resignation of Lord Agnew, and his revelation that his own Government have been ‘woeful’ in tackling fraud. This is of huge concern. Billions of pounds of public money are at stake; your money. I told the Commons this is simply unacceptable and asked the Government about fraud prevention strategies like a register of UK property ownership, reform of Companies House, and more.

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