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THE Tories have “sold out” Hartlepool, with manufacturing jobs more than halving since 2010, Labour said today, as campaigning steps up ahead of next month’s by-election.
Data from the House of Commons Library shows that 3,500 manufacturing jobs have been lost in the north-east town over the last decade, with skilled jobs falling by nearly a third and the number of apprenticeship placements dropping by 13 per cent.
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the Tories had a “record of failure” on a visit to the town today, as the party looks to hold on to a key “red wall” seat.
The latest data shows there are 1,600 fewer jobs in skilled trade occupations in Hartlepool than in 2010, when the Conservatives came to power, including 500 positions lost in skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades and 700 vacancies lost in skilled manufacturing.
Apprenticeship starts are at a 10-year low in the town, according to the analysis, with just 720 new starts, and manufacturing jobs for younger workers have fallen by nearly two-thirds over the last decade.
Labour candidate Dr Paul Williams has said he wants to help create new jobs in the town and double apprenticeships through a new business leadership board, and the party has also called on ministers to intervene to save jobs at Liberty Steel and to commit to a new nuclear power plant, securing skilled jobs once the current station is decommissioned.
Ms Rayner said: “We were promised ‘levelling up,’ but under the Tories the people of Hartlepool have been let down and sold out.
“Dr Paul Williams will deliver the apprenticeships and the good, skilled, jobs that we need in the town so that Hartlepool can thrive and young people don’t have to leave to get on in life.”
Dr Williams said: “These figures show the stark impact of more than a decade of Tory rule on our industry.
“We’ve all seen the evidence that if you’re mates with a member of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, you can be sure of securing lucrative contracts worth millions in taxpayers’ cash.
“Young people in Hartlepool are seeing their opportunities diminish, while the Conservatives carry on putting their cronies first.”
The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Mike Hill in March following accusations of sexual harassment and victimisation. Mr Hill denies the claims.
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