‘An attack on London does north no good’
ALIB Dem Lord has warned northern leaders to ‘stop attacking London’ as it won’t help cities like Manchester get the progress they need.
At an event bringing together leaders from across the north, Lord John Shipley told a con- ference hall in Newcastle: “I don’t think we need to be attacking London.
“A lot of our tax revenues come from London.”
Referring to the calls for rail links between northern cities to be prioritised over Crossrail Two – a route across London – he said the capital had ‘done a good job’ planning the line.
He also called on the north to ‘stop wish-listing’, adding: “The north needs to take responsibilty.
“With power comes responsibility and the need to know where money is coming from.”
He said there needed to be a debate about how the north raises its own money because the government is in so much debt.
In response, Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor, accepted l● that northern leaders could sometimes ‘have a chip on their shoulder’ about London.
Comparisons between Manchester and London have been frequent in recent years – mostly due to the funding gap between the capital and the north of the country.
An analysis by the thinktank IPPR North found that the north of England has missed out on £63bn in transport investment over the past decade, with London getting £419 more per head every year.
Later, Richard Leese, leader of Manchester council, our sister paper the M.E.N: “Is national funding distributed well?
“There should always be a debate about that and the north has clearly been under-invested in.
“I think the point John Shipley was making was simply moving the deckchairs around is not the right answer.
“London is really important to the economy for the UK, us trying to do them down is not going to help us in the long-run.”
But he said the imbalance between London and Manchester had to be addressed, adding: “Part of the reason there isn’t the right balance is not that London’s got too much, it’s that we’ve got too little.”
He added: “I think historically northern leaders have had a chip on their shoulder about London. But I think we’ve started to change that over the last few years.”
He said the devolution of power being led from the north had also helped, adding: “I think we are far more confident, far more assertive, we know that we are capable of delivering and we are prepared to be bold in how we deliver.
“I think we see that particularly in Greater Manchester around what we are trying to do around health and social care.”
He said some parts of the region still ‘thought in terms of dependency’ – thinking ‘decisions had to be made for them’.
But he insisted the north had to take the reins to get ‘power over money’, adding: “Trains came up a lot this morning, we’ve really seen problems over the last few months about what centralised control had done to our rail network and we do need to continue on that journey, really demonstrating to government about how things could work better – including for them – if more decisions were taken here.”
Lord Shipley was appointed Spokesperson for Communities, Decentralisation and the Northern Powerhouse in 2015. He was speaking at the Convention of the North, where business, private sector and voluntary leaders discussed the devolution of power to northern cities to create a more powerful region. SOME BBC administrative staff spent nearly £60,000 on taxis to and from their offices in Salford Quays in two years, according to figures obtained by the M.E.N.
One fare alone amounted to £637.
Our figures show that the director general’s office and other administrative and technical departments spent £34,111 on taxi rides to and from MediaCityUK in 2016/17 and then £25,579 in 2017/18.
In 2016/17, the most expensive taxi ride cost £637.
This was said to be a ‘wait and return’ journey from London to Salford Quays for seven in a people carrier booked because it was cheaper than seven return rail fares.
The most expensive fare in 2017/18 was from Salford Quays to the Chorley area and cost £98. These taxi rides were paid for via the BBC’s centralised booking systems, and do not include journeys claimed by staff through their expenses.
But the overall taxi bill will be much higher.
The BBC has refused to reveal how much it spends on fares for other departments, arguing it was exempt from being released as it concerned ‘art, journalism or literature’.
A BBC spokesperson said: “We are always mindful of costs and have strict guidelines in place, however as a 24-hour broadcaster we will inevitably have some travel related costs.
“Overall we have cut costs and made significant management savings so 95 per cent of the money we control is spent on what matters most – the content and services our audiences love.” TELEPHONE: www. glossopcaravans. co. uk
Lord John Shipley addresses the conference