We’ll have to roll with it as Gal­lagher heads for York­shire with an acid wit

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS / VOICES - Dave Bald­win Chair­man of Brad­ford Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Burn­ley Foot­ball Club

Noel Gal­lagher hails from the ‘ wrong’ side of the Pen­nines but can ex­pect a right good York­shire wel­come in Septem­ber. The Man­cu­nian who wrote the songs which turned rock group Oa­sis into one of the world’s big­gest bands in the 90s will head­line Bin­g­ley Mu­sic Live.

Gal­lagher is one of the most in­ter­est­ing mu­si­cians to emerge from the North in re­cent decades: a fan­tas­tic singer- song­writer, witty, out­spo­ken and full of self­be­lief and am­bi­tion. A proud Manc, he usu­ally pokes fun at York­shire when on stage in God’s Own County. We can nor­mally take the joke.

Bin­g­ley Mu­sic Live is now in its 12th year and just keeps get­ting bet­ter. From a mod­est af­fair to show­case lo­cal mu­sic tal­ent, it has grown to become one of York­shire’s premier mu­sic fes­ti­vals with back­ing by Brad­ford Coun­cil. Around 15,000 mu­sic- lovers are ex­pected to at­tend on each of the three days, putting money in the pock­ets of lo­cal pubs, restau­rants, shops and ho­tels. True to its roots, there’s plenty of lo­cal tal­ent on show too. York’s Shed Seven are head­lin­ers. Leeds’s Pulled Apart by Horses; RedFaces from Sh­effield; and Wake­field’s The Cribs are also on.

The South has al­ways been a bit bland when it comes to mu­sic. There are ex­cep­tions –

The Rolling Stones and The Who spring to mind – but the North con­sis­tently pro­duces more in­ter­est­ing artists.

From The Bea­tles to The

Smiths, via the Stone

Roses, Joy Divi­sion,

Pulp and the Arc­tic

Mon­keys, there’s some­thing in the air up here that drives cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion.

It’s a spirit which re­flects where the North has come from and where it’s go­ing.

I had to laugh last month when I read the lat­est the­ory about the North- South di­vide. An aca­demic took what could be de­scribed as a ‘ cre­ative’ ap­proach and re­drew tra­di­tional di­vid­ing lines ac­cord­ing to where Lon­don’s sphere of in­flu­ence ex­tends to.

His the­ory was that towns and cities which were two hours or less com­mut­ing time from Lon­don are in the ‘ South’ and those that aren’t are the ‘ North’. In a flash, Manch­ester, Sh­effield and Leeds moved to the ‘ South’ while Brad­ford, Hud­der­s­field and Liver­pool re­mained the ‘ North’. My view is sim­ple: Leeds and Brad­ford are de­fined by them­selves, not their prox­im­ity to Lon­don.

But it does raise ques­tions about the power that the cap­i­tal ex­erts. It should re­mind us – yet again – that the UK’s econ­omy needs re­bal­anc­ing. In­vest­ment re­mains fo­cused on the South- East while the rest of the coun­try gets crumbs from the ta­ble.

As chair of the Brad­ford Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship I know what’s in our power to change and what’s not. Brad­ford’s a great place for busi­ness but has suf­fered from decades of un­der- in­vest­ment in our built en­vi­ron­ment and this is a brake on busi­ness.

We can only do so much: Gov­ern­ment needs to put its hand in its pocket and in­vest in ed­u­ca­tion, skills and train­ing, in­fra­struc­ture and pub­lic ser­vices. Fund­ing for trans­port is crit­i­cal. Eye­brows were raised in Fe­bru­ary when a House of Com­mons re­port found that pub­lic spend­ing on trans­port was higher in parts of North than in the parts of the South- East. It showed that in 2015/ 16, trans­port spend­ing per per­son was £ 401 in the

North- West, £ 380 in York­shire and the Hum­ber and £ 365 in the South- East. So far so good.

But all was dwarfed by Lon­don, where spend­ing per per­son was a stag­ger­ing £ 973. It isn’t fair.

Things can change: Manch­ester had prob­lems but now it’s boom­ing. The sky­line is pop­u­lated by build­ing site cranes as prop­erty in­vest­ment pours in. Brad­ford is half the size, but we could learn a few things about am­bi­tion and self- be­lief over the Pen­nines.

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