About Jamie Driscoll

Jamie grew up on Teesside in the 80s and saw the devastation of communities blighted when work disappeared. His Dad was a shift worker at ICI after he was a tank driver in the Army. He learned his socialism from his Mam. She managed to work part time and study at Sunderland Polytechnic to become a youth worker, all while raising four kids. She went on to be women’s officer for Cleveland County Council, a union shop steward, and chair of the Women’s Refuge from Domestic Violence.

He left school at 16, and worked in a factory. When he was 22 he went to Northumbria University to study engineering as a mature student, working part-time as a bouncer to pay his way.

Jamie worked in Blyth as an engineer making breathing apparatus, and as a project manager and company director in the electronics and IT sector, setting up his own software development business. When his wife and he had kids, he became a stay-at-home Dad, so she could continue her career.

Outside of work Jamie is a black belt in jiu jitsu. He spent decades honing the skill, then getting great satisfaction in training other people and helping them achieve things they didn’t think possible.

Jamie was a Labour & Cooperative councillor in Monument ward, Newcastle city centre, before running for Mayor. Jamie was elected Metro Mayor of North of Tyne on 3rd May 2019. He has already created thousands of jobs, despite the pandemic, and continues to deliver an impressive range of programmes that address climate change and directly improve people’s lives.

Jamie's Vision

“The climate crisis is real and urgent but it is not the only emergency we face.

“I no longer own a car, I cycle to meetings, I have solar panels on my roof. But that’s not an option for everyone. If you live in a suburb with no Metro and expensive buses, and have to drop your kids off a school before heading to the first of your two minimum-wage, part-time jobs, you won’t be thinking about buying a Tesla - you’ll be too busy putting food on the table.

“The drag of poverty is as urgent as the climate crisis, and it causes long-term scarring to our whole society. They are two sides of the same coin.

“The North East is a wonderful place to live. The people are friendly and hard working. The landscape is beautiful, our heritage impressive. We have world-leading industries. But let’s not sugarcoat the truth. Our productivity is too low, and our healthy life expectancy is the worst in England. Widespread deprivation goes hand-in-hand with the lowest levels of asset ownership.

“Too often, our energetic and talented people reach a point in their careers where they have to leave our region. Too many others come from challenging backgrounds. Without a good start in life, their potential goes unfulfilled.

“The reason is simple: long-term under-investment. Investment in businesses, investment in infrastructure, and investment in our people.

“This is what devolution must fix. Our region needs investment, and productive people. People are only productive, in the sense of a modern economy, when they are happy, healthy, and have the skills to contribute. Everything else flows from this. The solution is to make the North of Tyne a powerhouse of wealth generation.

“I do not want to keep going to central government like Oliver Twist, forever saying, “Please sir, I want some more”. We need to move to a financially stable North of Tyne, with its own resilience hard-wired in. That means up-front funds to overcome the generations of under investment in our region, in order to build ourselves up to a point where we can thrive. Even more important are the powers we need to reach that point of self-sustainability.

“We’re already delivering on this vision at the North of Tyne Combined Authority. And I’ll keep fighting until everyone has the chance of a good life.

“Covid, and the climate crisis, has caused us to rethink how our economy works. It can no longer be about rising share prices or housing bubbles. It’s about a secure future for everyone.

“That’s how we take people with us. We build a Zero-Carbon, Zero-Poverty North East.”
Front Cover of Prosperity Document
house iconCommunity Wealth Building
Windmill iconGreen Industrial Revolution
networking hubs iconSet Up Community Hubs
affordable homes iconBuild Affordable Homes
education iconMeaningful Adult Education