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Labour leader snubs North East creative industries

February 14, 2019 3:04 PM
John Appleby NoT CALiberal Democrats question priorities of North of Tyne Authority after brochure revelation
Liberal Democrats North of Tyne Mayoral candidate John Appleby (pictured) has called on Newcastle council leader Nick Forbes to justify his comment that the region does not have the capacity to produce the authority's glossy "Home of Ambition" brochure setting out his priorities, after it emerged that the authority had commissioned a Manchester design agency to produce it.
Cllr Forbes was challenged on the decision by a prominent local businessman at the brochure's launch event this week and replied that "I don't believe we have the capacity in this region for this sort of project."
John Appleby said: "It is bad enough that the North of Tyne authority has failed to practice what it preaches on creating and retaining wealth in the region through public procurement, but it is an insult to the creative and design sector in our region that Nick Forbes appears to believe they are not capable of providing such a service. It is also problematic that one of the mayoral candidates is using his position as a North of Tyne cabinet member and North of Tyne Authority responses to speak at public events whilst he is also a prospective candidate for Mayor.
"This is a powerful example of the complacency and hypocrisy of the local Labour political establishment which only last week claimed to be promoting community wealth creation in a debate on a Liberal Democrats motion to Newcastle council on this issue. It is deeply embarrassing that one of its most senior North of Tyne spokespersons is admitting in public that he does not have confidence in the ability of local businesses to provide this service, and it is an indication that the North of Tyne authority already has the wrong priorities when it comes to spending public money. I am standing to offer an alternative approach in which the Mayor will prioritise using the Authority's funds to support local business growth in the North of Tyne's area, not Manchester."