Treated as the poor relations

Like many of my fellow northern Members of Parliament, I listened with trepidation in the House of Commons last week as George Osborne and then Danny Alexander outlined government spending plans – or cuts in many cases – for the next few years.

The chancellor announced in his spending review that Whitehall budgets would be slashed by some £11.5bn, while the day after the chief secretary to the treasury outlined what he said amounted to £100bn to be spent on modernising Britain’s infrastructure.

Of course, we all have to take account the big national picture when assessing and assimilating the full impact of their statements, but as regional MPs our concern also has to be for our own constituents and whether or not we are going to be winners or losers as a result of decisions.

Around the Commons in the immediate aftermath, reaction was that yet again regions such as ours appear to have been marginalised and sadly treated as the poor relations left to pick up the crumbs from the tables of London and the south east.

In truth there was little in what either said to give us hope that we will get our fair share of the spoils.

We need money spent on our road networks; better rail connections with the rest of the country; on new, affordable housing for people struggling to find and pay for a home for them and their families; and on bringing employment to the region that will offer long-term job security.

Sadly, nothing was said in the Commons last week that gives me any confidence that any of this will materialise under this present coalition government.

What our constituents can be assured of, however, is that we will continue to fight their corner and press for a fair deal for this area.