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John Appleby is Liberal Democrats candidate for ‘North of Tyne’ Mayor

December 20, 2018 3:57 PM

Following approval by Liberal Democrats John Appleby NoT CAmembers across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, John Appleby has been selected as the prospective candidate for the election of a Mayor of the new North of Tyne Combined Authority in May 2019.

"I am delighted to be selected to stand for this important new position," said John. "In an over-centralised country, devolution to regions is a welcome step towards putting decisions in the hands of those most affected by them.

"The area North of the Tyne, as well as the part of Northumberland south of the Tyne, contains some of the friendliest people, the most beautiful countryside, and the most fertile source of energy and ideas anywhere in the UK - the industrial revolution owed much to the entrepreneurs and people of our area. This new Authority will allow us to coordinate our aims and activity, to develop our local strengths, and to work with central government and international partners to help this area prosper in every way.

"The experience of recent devolution arrangements in the region has not yet resulted in dramatic transformation in our region's fortunes. There is a risk that the new Authority will continue to be more of the same, with council leaders deciding things between them with little public enthusiasm or engagement. I will be campaigning to ensure that the new Mayoral Authority is more than that and does far more to engage and involve all the North of Tyne's citizens. Our region and our country needs an alternative to the failed two-party political establishment, and it needs a sustainable economy and society which offers opportunity, prosperity and wellbeing for everyone.

"As your Mayor, I shall make every effort to help people to work together for the well-being of this area: education, environment, health, opportunity and sustainable prosperity. I hope you will vote for me so I can represent you from May 2019. I will put the interests of the North of Tyne's citizens before the interests of the local political elite."

John's priorities will include:

· Investing in education and skills to ensure the right mix of training for specific employment and transferable skills to underpin economic and employment growth, and to raise aspirations, self-confidence, and wellbeing. I know very well the importance of ensuring our education system provides the skilled future workforce for the knowledge economy. A focus on improving educational attainment for all is needed. Narrowing the attainment gap for boys in our region is particularly important and needs a greater public policy response.

· Ensuring the North of Tyne is a region striving to create a good world and a good society for the benefit of future generations. In this area we have some of the best ideas, people and industry to promote new 'green' jobs. Our area was at the heart of the industrial revolution, and we should be at the forefront of this new revolution. John will lead a Mayoral Commission on air quality and sustainable transport.

· Protecting the rights of workers at risk of exploitation by unfair employer practices and challenging employers to ensure staff are treated fairly and paid fairly. John is particularly concerned at increasing use of temporary agency workers without the rights of permanent employees, particularly those companies which use these arrangements to require the worker to pay the employer's National Insurance Contribution.

· Ensuring that three local authorities pool their resources and coordinate their aims to maximise the benefits to the whole area, including investment in education and local industries to minimise the significant negative economic impact of Brexit on this area;

· Maximising the benefits of devolution at all levels, and encouraging the authorities south of the Tyne to work with us and to join a wider partnership in due course;

· Balancing the needs and interests of the urban areas in the south and east of the area with the rural communities and local economies that add so much to our whole region. Communities in North and West Northumberland deserve the same access to good services, schools, and hospitals as the conurbation, but increasingly they don't.

· Working effectively with business to create the conditions and opportunities for sustainable economic growth - only with a successful and expanding private sector providing economic growth and jobs can the North of Tyne ensure successful and thriving public services.

· Coordinating transport and pressing the Government for more powers to develop sustainable transport links across the whole region;

· Ensuring the Mayoral Authority is responsive, accessible, and answerable to all the citizens of North of Tyne, not the local and national political establishment

Dr John Appleby has lived in the North-East for over thirty years, and now lives in Whitley Bay, where he enjoys walking on the ever-changing beach with his wife, Janet.

He was formerly Head of Mechanical Engineering at Newcastle University, responsible for over 1000 staff and students, a budget of £14 million, strategy and safety. He continues to be a popular teacher of maths for engineering students.

John served as a Lib Dem councillor in Newcastle from 2004 until 2007, representing Woolsington ward and taking an interest in transport, education, scrutiny and audit. He has subsequently stood for Parliament, in local elections, and as mayoral candidate in North Tyneside.

He also has experience as a trustee of several local charities and as a school governor, and has been a union branch president, also serving on local and national church committees.

Follow John on Twitter @JohnApplebyLD