An election for the North of Tyne Combined Authority Mayor will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2019. To help you make your decision, each candidate has made a policy statement. This is what Dr John Appleby, standing for the Liberal Democracts, says.
'This new development is an exciting opportunity for our area, prioritising what we believe in and promoting ourselves on the wider stage.
Those in London and the South-East tend to think we’re too far away and often forget our strengths and potential, as well as our needs.
I like to say: ‘We used to have the Carbon; we’ve still got the Energy!’.
I’d like to be Mayor of ‘North of Tyne’ (including Hexham, Prudhoe and Allendale) to be a voice for all of us with Government and the wider world, and to help people and organisations work together effectively – communication and coordination are key!
However, until the South of Tyne authorities join in, which we hope will be soon, the powers of this new authority and the Mayor will be fairly limited, not even including much on Transport.
As a critical friend of Europe, I want to maintain and strengthen international links, with the Environment my top priority for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
Brexit discussions seem to be in chaos, and have made worse the bitterness and divisions that contributed to the referendum vote.
The 52% vote to Leave reflected concerns about sovereignty, migration and austerity, but the promises made by the Leave campaign were contradictory and misleading.
Whatever happens, we need to find ways of healing divisions and working together.
Therefore, the principal roles of the new Mayor will be:
• To bring people and organisations together, building a consensus about our social and other priorities;
• To be a voice for the North of Tyne area nationally, lobbying for a better devolution settlement and re-building trust with international partners;
• To use the funding and powers provided to promote projects and activities that will support sustainable jobs, housing and transport.
I’m particularly interested in how support for small and medium businesses can be improved, creating jobs, sustaining communities and generating new ideas, and this is important in the rural setting as well as our towns and cities.
I’ve lived in the North-East for over 30 years, and now live in Whitley Bay.
I was head of mechanical engineering at Newcastle University for 14 years, and still teach maths to engineering students.
I have experience of managing people (1,000 staff and students), strategy and finance (a £14million budget),
I’m an excellent communicator, and like to build trust through plain-speaking, honesty about what’s possible, and seeking advice.
I won’t promise things that can’t be done.
I have also been a charity trustee, school governor, trade union branch president, and served on local and national church committees (including issues such as gambling and homelessness).
A vote for John Appleby is a vote for experience, realism, plain-speaking, for a critical friend of Europe.
I aim to find workable solutions that everyone can see the sense of – what I call ‘creative compromise’.
That’s what gives me real satisfaction!'
Dr John Appleby is a 62-year-old university teacher.