HUNDREDS of delegates are expected to arrive in Blackpool today as the Labour party stages its regional conference at the Winter Gardens.
Four shadow ministers are among the speakers - Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna.
The focus will be on Labour’s proposals for how the economy can be kick-started.
Labour leader Ed Miliband is not attending, but in a message to delegates said the party’s mission was to rebuild Britain’s economy.
He said: “Across the North West people are facing an out of touch Tory-led Government which consistently stands up for the wrong people.
“They have made it harder for working people to get tax credits while cutting taxes for millionaires.
“They are taking thousands of police off the streets, spending money sacking nurses to pay for a reorganisation of the NHS, and making life more difficult for young people by trebling tuition fees, scrapping EMA and cancelling plans to get young people back into work.”
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Further Education, Skills and Regional Growth, welcomed the return of the party to the resort.
He said: “It’s fantastic to be welcoming Labour Regional Conference to Blackpool for a second consecutive year.
“I’m proud visitors and colleagues will be able to see the revitalised Winter Gardens and Tower, along with the new tramway and headlands, projects funded by the previous Labour Government and brought to completion by Blackpool’s new Labour Council.
“These are tough times. The challenge at this conference and beyond is to persuade those who did not vote Labour at the last General Election to put their trust in us again and demonstrate how Labour will make a difference.”
Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn also welcomed the conference back.
He said: “Last year’s regional conference was a great success and I’m delighted it’s back in Blackpool. The council has made a big investment in the Winter Gardens and Blackpool’s future.
“At a time when we’re in the longest double dip recession since the Second World War, it’s vital that we have projects that attract business and visitors to the town.”
Last year’s regional conference was held at the Imperial Hotel in the resort.