Monthly Archives: January 2021

The Tees Needs A NIGHT TIME ECONOMY Champion

Teesside should have a ‘night time economy advisor’ to help a vital sector bounce back after the lockdown says the Labour candidate in the looming mayoral election.

Jessie Joe Jacobs believes pubs, clubs, theatres and venues are key drivers for the local economy and they need a dedicated champion to help them rebuild after a traumatic year.

“I support the campaign by ‘Seat at The Table’ for the government to appoint a cabinet minister for hospitality to protect and promote this vital cog in the economy,” she said.

“And I believe there should be a ‘hospitality and night-time economy ambassador’ for the Tees Valley too.

“The roles would be champions and guardians of hospitality In Parliament and within the mayor’s office, promoting the importance of the economic, social and employment contribution of the sector to society. They would advance the status of hospitality and tourism at a regional and national level.”

The role would be especially important at local level as pubs, restaurants and venues struggle to return after a long lockdown. There will be many problems to overcome but Jacobs is confidenty they have the drive to bounce back. 

“I love our small independent businesses and our hospitality industry, ” she said. “They are the heart and soul of our communities, the ‘who we are’ of Great Britain. They are central to the character, personality and the heartbeat of the places we love and call home.

When the Hospitality Union started calling for support early on in the Covid crisis, estimating two million jobs could be lost UK wide, I was one of the first in the North East to join their call,” she says.

The often over-looked sector is huge. Hospitality employs 3.2 million people, produces £130 billion towards GDP every year. The cultural and creative sector produces £10.8billion a year to the UK economy and generates a further £23billion a year and 363,700 jobs. Jacobs has been fighting hospitality’s corner since the first lockdown.

“I coordinated a regional response via Food and Drink North East. We got some of what we asked for but not all. When the Venues Trust and Music Trust launched their campaign for a cultural rescue plan, I quickly backed their call and added my voice to their campaign.

“I was pleased the government responded; but it feels like, the longer this crisis goes on, the harder it is for these businesses to bounce back and the harder these business owners will be finding things. “

People across the Tees Valley have missed the opportunity to enjoy a night out during a difficult period and Jacobs worries about the damage that has been done.

“Birthdays and celebrations are usually spent in our favourite bar, with our favourite people, eating and drinking our favourite meal and drinks,” she said.

“But this last year has been very different and as this crisis rolls on, the loss of those simple things, has become more apparent. But more worrying is the lingering fear, about what of those everyday things and places will still be left after this crisis?”

And Jacobs has urged those in the sector to get in touch to share ideas.

“If you want to talk to me about anything specific, have any concerns or you just want a chat, please get in touch. Times feel tough, it’s so hard to stay positive, but just remember that fighting spirit and bravery that drove you to start a business in the first place, that’s something nothing can take away.

“Dig deep, the end is in sight and there are brighter days ahead.”

Five Things You Can Do To Help

With the country still under lockdown those businesses are under tremendous pressure but there are things you can do to help

1) If you are local hospitality business is still open, why not order click and collect or take away.

2) If your favourite hospitality business isn’t open, why not drop them a message letting them know you miss them and , that you are looking forward to coming back to them when they reopen.

3) Support a crowd funder for a local venue or a hospitality fundraiser. Tht has been a success for the Westgarth Social Club in Middlesbrough and The Georgian Theatre in Stockton but there will be others.

4) Join my call for a National Minister for Hospitality and a ‘Hospitality and Night-time Economy Ambassador’ for the Tees Valley.

5) Lastly, post an image of your favourite pub or restaurant on your Facebook wall or Instagram. Remind everyone else about how much we value them.

Saying no to demolition of redcar blast furnace

The Tees mayor has announced he’s demolishing the Redcar Blast furnace, even though he was presented a proposal to keep the heart of the furnace, that experts from the Save Our Steel heritage task group say would be cost virtually no more than to demolish, would need only 1/1000th of the site of Tees Works and wouldn’t affect jobs or development. He is simply doing what Tories always do, ripping the heart out of communities.

Houchen is making a mistake,” said Jessie Joe. “The Conservatives ripped the heart out of Teesside when they took away large scale steel-making and this will be finishing the job. The furnace means a lot to generations of people who worked in the industry. It is a still important icon of who we are and what we built. It won’t be going down without a fight.
But it is not just nostalgia. Heritage icons like the blast furnace can play a huge part in economic regeneration. There are countless examples across the globe like the Angel of the North and the Landschaftpark in Germany where rather than being discarded, industrial history has preserved cultural identity and led to tourist interest and complemented existing industries.

The removal of the blast furnace is based on a deeply flawed report, designed to build a case for demolition. It is a short-sighted plan based on a report that bears no resemblance to reality. The report he commissioned was based on retaining huge amounts of old structures and building a visitor centre – but no one has asked for that, people have simply been asking to keep the furnance and keep the heart of Teesside’s industrial heritage.

It proves Ben Houchen does not understand how to build a varied and inclusive economy for the Tees Valley. This area is desperate for jobs we need a diversity of jobs, something  which tourism and heritage alongside an industrial strategy can bring, something which I can bring.”

My Campaign to bring 750 new treasury jobs to our town centres

I am calling for the government to bring 750 treasury jobs to Teesside. Investment decisions have too often favoured the south east and this needs to change. This should be seen as a small step towards rebalancing years of Conservative neglect. It shouldn’t even be a question.

But I am also calling the mayor to ensure our town centres are offered as the main location. Our town centres are the beating heart of the Tees Valley’ local economy. They are our culture, leisure and retail hubs, and we should be doing all we can to promote increased footfall – especially as we look to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

That’s why I’m concerned that the Tees Valley Mayor is appearing to talk down down new office accommodation in places like Middlesbrough, seeking instead to direct the Government to look at “out of town” options, especially around Teesside Airport. If this were to happen then the main beneficiary would be the airport, not the Tees Valley as a whole. The Tees Valley is about to see a mini revival and people will come here from all over the UK to live, work and play.

It is one of the greatest undiscovered places in the UK, from the stunning coast, the beautiful hills to the vibrant cultural scene, affordable homes and some of the warmest, passionate and brilliant people you will meet. It is a perfect location for government decision makers to relocate to. Let’s not allow them to get stuck at an out of town development.

Jessie calls on Government AND Tees Mayor to do more to support our children

The Government needs to unveil a package of family support alongside its £4.9 billion fund for businesses to help them through the new lockdown, says Labour’s candidate for Tees Valley Mayor Jessie Joe Jacobs.

With the Prime Minister announcing a new national lockdown on Monday 4 January, including the closure of schools, Jessie is calling on the Tees Valley Mayor to do more to champion our children asking him to back the Children’s Commissioner’s call for the Government to ensure all children have access to devices and wi-fi to ensure they can be properly home-schooled during the lockdown and to use the Combined Authorities business networks to lead a campaign to raise funds from local business to meet immediate needs such as the purchase of tablets and 4G data.

Jessie is also adding her support to the campaign to keep the £20 increase in Universal Credit so far the Chancellor has stated this increase was a temporary measure but the tightened restrictions shows that the increase will be needed beyond 31 March 2021. According to Action for Children, the Tees Valley has seen a sharp rise in households with children in receipt of Universal Credit from 15,625 to 22,860 – an increase of 7235 households between January and August 2020.

Jessie said:

“The extra support to local businesses during the new lockdown is welcome – and something I have been campaigning for – but it’s clear that the Government must also do more to help families through this crisis.  

“Our children are our future and every child matters. The Government is asking for education to “go online” but to do that every child needs to have a device and wifi. Without this, poorer children’s education will suffer in the long term and we can’t allow that to happen. 

“The Tees Valley Mayor should also get behind our children, using the power and influence of the role to both lobby government and work with local business to find local solutions. We saw through the child hunger campaign how our local business communities stepped up to ensure Tees children don’t go hungry. It’s now time to come together to ensure our children also don’t go without an education. 

“We need a real plan and resources to help families in the difficult time both regionally and nationally. This means cancelling the Universal Credit cut, providing rent and mortgage holidays and ensuring people are not pushed into debt. 

I have heard from far too many concerned teachers and families to understand the Government needs to act to support Tees families, and they must provide that support quickly