Gordon Brown will not be coming to the North East as part of his current tour of the nation in which he looks at the problems of the recession. The region is not sure whether they should feel relieved or insulted. I suspect it is a mixture of both.
However, the Brown tour to other parts of the country goes ahead on the day one of the most successful private sector employers in the North East, Nissan, announces 1200 job losses. A further 300 jobs are going in a regional business that provides parts to Nissan.
This is a serious blow to the region. Many of my constituents work at the car plant. Northern Rock has already shed a huge number of jobs over the past year. Small businesses are feeling the pinch, and as with the rest of the country, all our Woolies stores have closed.
And yesterday, I took delivery of the jobseeker allowance figures for Gateshead, showing the claimant count went up in all 22 wards in November.
This is going to be a difficult recession. My fear is that we are only at the start of it.