What are your thoughts, hopes and concerns for the
economy, business and the likely effects on your
"I'm obviously very concerned. We've got a very difficult world
situation, you can see what's happening in the euro zone, and 'Im
afraid the government is making things a lot worse."
We've not seen the British economy grow at all over the last
nine months, which is reflected in the levels of unemployment here
So my message is one of action. We're going to be campaigning
around the country in the coming weeks to say to the government,
'let's take some action', to get this economy moving.
What action will you be taking?
We want to cut VAT, cutting VAT on repairs, which will help the
construction sector. Taking some measures to help get young
unemployed people back to work. Simple, practical measures to get
the economy growing here in Doncaster and across the country.
The unemployment figures recently need to be looked at, 1,200
people extra are becoming unemployed each and every day. Uunder
those circumstabces, you can't say the plan is working. Things have
What sort of feedback are you getting from constituents
I think people are very fearful. There is a sense of big public
sector cuts, a sense that the state of the econmony isn't goofd
enough. We're in a very difficult situation.
I don't see what's going to get better in the next three, six or
nine months compared to the last year. I don't subscribe to the
view that nothing can be done, I say that they've got to
I don't ever want to suggest that it's hopeless, but this is the
slowest recovery to a recession that the economy has ever
experienced. We should be bouncing back much more strongly, but we
have huge things to boast about, in terms of the great people and
businesses we have in this country. It's just atht at the moment,
they're not getting the right help.
What I would like to dsay to the government is that they have an
opportunity to get things moving, take action and don'#t put the
integrity of your own plan ahead the integrity of the economy.
They have to change, adapt and learn from what's been
You've been a constituency MP here in Doncaster since
2005. What views and impressions have gathered from the local
businesses you've visited in that time?
What i would say is that throughout that time, i fell like
things have been a struggle for a lot of businesses, particularly
small firms. We've got to find a way in which we address some of
the longer term issues, such as the lending from banks to small
businesses. Bank finance is a big issue.
I spent some time with a local businesses in my own constituency
called Sentry Doors recently. One of the things that they struggle
with is the local council, and if they get enough support from
them. Part of my job is to say that we are going to stand up for
small firms such as those in this area that face real struggles
with the big players in the public and private sectors.
There is a feeling in Britain that these issues haven't been
addressed for a long time, including by the last Labour Government.
This is something we have to address.
The Coalition Government promised that they would
simplify things when they launched the LEP's, but there is a
feeling of confusion. What is happening exactly?
In my opinion, governments of both parties chop and change too
much, and introduce new initiatives. The government is too often
thinking about shiny new initiatives they can launch.
Both the regional and the small business voices are important. I
don't think we've got the small business voice right. I think there
is more we can do on that and i don't think we've got the regional
development voice right either.
Are you sad about LEP's replacing RDA's?
I think the RDA's (Regional Development Agencies) made a
difference. I don't quite see how Local Enterprise Partnerships are
going to work. You don't want lots of local authorities in
different areas competing. I really regret the passing of the
Another point is that we are still too 'London focused'. We've
got to grow the economy outside of London. I don't think we've done
enough to do that.
What role would you like to see Doncaster play within
Well we need a strong voice within the LEP, but we also need to
demonstrate that we can work together with the likes of Sheffield
and show what we can achieve together.
What are you views on the regeneration of Doncaster
I think it's been very positive. The combination of the airport
and the shopping centre amongst other things have been
But there is a challenge we face in terms of making sure the
development in the town centre is reflected in all parts of the
The overall economic circumstances in the country has an effect,
even though there are good initiatives going on here, it's becoming
very hard when you find out that people don't have money in their
We have lots to shout about here in Doncaster, and lots of
potential. The future could be bright for Doncaster, but it needs
the right will from the local authority and in central government
to make it happen.
The big topic in this issue is that of Exporting. The Prime
Minister wants Britain's businesses to look at trading
internationally as one way of helping to recover the national
economy. Do you think this is a viable solution or do you think
it's important to trade locally?
I think both are important. My experience suggests that the
domestic market is extremely important.
I recently visited the Bosch factory in Worcester. They mainly
produce for the domestic market, but they also export
I also visited a company in Wrexham which produce Solar Panels.
They told me that very few actually got o the domestic market,
which I believe is actually a very big growth opportunity here in
The problem with the government's strategy is that they thought
an export led growth could get you out of any problems
domestically. That might have been true, if the world economy was
booming. But it isn't. It's facing difficult times as well.
Do you believe in the continuation of linking economic
growth to learning growth?
Well I personally want to encourage young people to get the
grades and go to university, but at the moment, £9,000 in tuition
fees is a big barrier.
There are some big choices we need to make. The Government is
going ahead with corporation tax cuts, but I think that's the wrong
choice. They should be using the money to cut tuition fees and
invest in our young people.
The learning part of what makes a good economy is so important.
I want to look at what we can do for companies which take on
We also looked at the topic of keeping graduates in Doncaster
once they've been educated here. What can be done by the Government
to help keep graduates in the area they've studied?
I don't think there's an easy answer to that, but I think
there's a lot to learn from Germany for example, who have
established links with their Universities, to big companies who
take on their graduates.
What I will also say is that I believe every major town or city
should have a University, as I believe it makes a huge difference
to economic growth.
I would also look at giving businesses more of a say in some of
the bigger decisions which are made, regarding apprenticeships and
where money goes. I think sometimes businesses feel like they're in
the 'square peg, round hole' situation. There's too much confusion
in terms of communication between educational establishments and
businesses which needs addressing.
What is your ultimate vision for the UK with a Labour
Government under your leadership?
I think people can see the recent problems for themselves. We've
had the banking crisis, the MP's expenses scandal, phone hacking
and the riots this summer. All this has led to the belief that the
way our economy and our society works has got to change.
My simple idea for Britain is getting 'something for something'.
People are putting in such a lot of work and getting very
little out. We need to build a country where people feel that they
are actually getting something out of the work they are putting
Finally, how do you like to relax at the
I like to relax with my kids and my wife, Justine. I don't see
them enough. I've got a two-year-old and an eleven month old. My
two year old is enjoying his football, I think he's got some real
talent! But I won't be putting too much pressure on him just
Has he picked a favourite team yet?
He's not got to that point yet but he loves a good