The election of a Conservative Government is a “disaster” for the North East, a long-serving Labour MP has claimed.
Nick Brown said the region will lose out on funding now that David Cameron has secured a majority in Parliament and said any cash devolved to a regional power will be insufficient to reverse the region’s fortunes.
The Newcastle East MP and former cabinet minister spoke out after a bruising defeat for his party at the polls.
The Tories hit back by highlighting that the North is growing faster than the South after five years of a Conservative-led Government and said last week’s victory proved the Tories are trusted.
Mr Brown said: “The funding formula for primary healthcare, for local authority funding, education and even hospital trusts will all likely be to our disadvantage.
“Housing, skills, economic development and transport is going to be dealt with by a devolved authority which won’t have the funding to carry out the work.
“Welfare cuts are going to hit the poorest hardest and that means our constituents. It is a pretty grim picture.”
Grahame Morris, the Labour MP for Easington, also sees a bleak future.
He said: “In the first 100 days we are going to see David Cameron rush to capitalise on his Commons majority with an unprecedented programme of legislation, cuts to public services, privatisations and attacks on trade union rights and civil liberties that will hit the North East hard.
“There is to be a European Referendum Bill and this above all else is likely to be damaging to private sector investor confidence and jobs in the North East.
“He has given notice of an Enterprise Bill to boost the UK economy but without specific measures to boost the North East economy and address the regional imbalances with the affluent South and South East that have widened since any meaningful regional policy’s as scrapped in 2010.”
He added: “We need a regional dimension partnership working with the public sector to encourage growth in the North East economy and bringing new decent paid secure jobs and opportunities for our young people. We need fair funding for local government and our public services.”
Ian Mearns, Labour’s Gateshead MP, said the unemployment rate remains high in comparison to other regions and added under-employment was an issue.
He said Labour MPs would fight “unfair” austerity and attempted to strike a more optimistic note, adding: “The one positive is that there is a new resolve amongst friends and colleagues to defend this region to the hilt.
“We care deeply about this region and we will fight for it though the weight of votes in Parliament are now against us.”
A spokeswoman for the Conservatives in Northumberland said the party has a plan to close the economic gap between the North and the South.
She said: “Labour may talk about austerity but their management of the economy left the country on the brink of bankruptcy and our children and their children saddled with debt. What the result of the general election demonstrated loud and clear is that people trust the Conservative party to deliver economic growth here in the north, and elsewhere and were not prepared to give Labour the opportunity to wreck the economy, once again.
“For the first time in living memory the economy in the north is growing faster than in the south; we are committed to bringing further economic stability and growth by paying off our debts and creating jobs. We have a clear economy plan for the North East, which is working, to create a Northern powerhouse.”