What steps he is taking to help ensure that public services in Newcastle are adequately funded.
The most recent local government finance settlement confirmed that core spending power in Newcastle is set to increase by £3.4 million in 2019-20. The North of Tyne devolution deal, for which there will be an election this May, will see £600 million invested in the area and, as part of the 2017 Budget, we announced our support for the £0.5 billion investment programme for the Tyne and Wear metro system.
Since 2010, successive Conservative Governments have cut funding for children’s social care in Newcastle by 40% and, at the same time, the number of looked-after children has risen by 40%, which is obviously untenable. Instead of talking about strengthening local authority funding when he has halved the amount available to Newcastle City Council, will the Minister instead say whether he agrees with the national charity Action for Children, which has called these cuts “devastating and dangerous”? Will he give us the money to look after our children?
We have just announced an additional £400 million to tackle exactly that. The hon. Lady and I have met in her city on occasion and talked about the northern powerhouse. I am sure she has heard me say that Charles Parsons, that great Newcastle inventor, is my inspiration for the northern powerhouse. A great danger for continuing growth in the north-east of England is the unfortunate selection of the Momentum, hard-left candidate for the Newcastle and North of Tyne election. I am inspired by the engineers of the north-east; he is inspired by Ken Livingstone and Derek Hatton. My hon. Friend the Housing Minister and I are from Liverpool, and we know where that leads.