Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has visited Northumberland in the wake of Storm Arwen. His visit followed visits by other shadow ministers who talked to those affected in the days and weeks after the storm.
The visit came on the back of Northumberland Labour leader Councillor Scott Dickinson appearing on national news and in national, regional, and local newspapers highlighting the support and need Northumberland had. He referred back to inadequate investment in infrastructure and that it was usual for parts of Northumberland to be without power for a period following adverse weather.
Scott Dickinson said: “This type of weather is going to become more and more regular, so we need to encourage more investment in the network to enable it to stand up what are going to be more adverse weather events.”
As well as visiting a GP practice and local business owners, Sir Keir met people with children and people who may not be able to spend Christmas in their own home. He also met older people without electricity and those who need support. He helped pack hampers for meals on wheels users who are vulnerable and often isolated for Christmas.
He heard from the Mayor of Blyth about the issues in the town and the impact on small businesses. Representatives from Ashington raised concerns about issues in the town. Sir Keir also heard about the properties still off in parts of Hexham and how those people, two weeks on, were really struggling.
Scott added: “It was important that our national leader saw for himself how the storm had affected people in our county. He was here to listen and I’m sure he will take back what he has seen to inform discussions on increased planning and resilience at a national level.”