Gov­ern­ment must do more for the north west, says CBI chief

Manchester Evening News - - BUSINESS - By SHELINA BEGUM

NORTH west busi­nesses need greater de­vo­lu­tion, bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity and Northern Pow­er­house Rail to un­lock fu­ture growth.

That was the mes­sage from CBI pres­i­dent John Al­lan when he ad­dressed more than 300 peo­ple at the CBI’s an­nual north west din­ner held at the Lowry Ho­tel in Sal­ford.

Speak­ing to the packed room, Mr Allen said: “First, we must con­tinue to un­lock re­gional growth through greater de­vo­lu­tion, en­sur­ing lo­cal peo­ple are in­volved in the de­ci­sions that im­pact them.

“In Greater Manch­ester and the Liver­pool city-re­gion, we’ve seen the ben­e­fit of hav­ing metro may­ors – who can hold the gov­ern­ment to ac­count.

“So last month, the CBI pub­lished our most com­pre­hen­sive piece of work on English de­vo­lu­tion to date.

“A roadmap – out­lin­ing ex­actly how we can get the right power to the right places. From White­hall to the town hall. As a first step to a new wave of de­vo­lu­tion deals, we are call­ing for gov­ern­ment to pub­lish a de­vo­lu­tion frame­work.

“So lo­cal au­thor­i­ties know what pow­ers and fund­ing gov­ern­ment is will­ing to de­volve. And the mea­sures for suc­cess.

“The CBI is call­ing for West­min­ster and White­hall to do more, pri­ori­tis­ing de­vo­lu­tion in Cab­i­net and ev­ery depart­ment – es­pe­cially Trea­sury. And, we need busi­ness in­volved in th­ese dis­cus­sions so that ex­ist­ing deals thrive, and ar­eas seek­ing fu­ture deals suc­ceed from the start.”

On greater con­nec­tiv­ity, Mr Al­lan said the re­gion needed to im­prove its in­fra­struc­ture and con­nec­tiv­ity to bring to­gether more peo­ple, busi­nesses and jobs.

He said: “Trans­port for the North is mak­ing the case for strate­gic travel im­prove­ments across the north. But we also need clear gover­nance struc­tures and clar­ity from gov­ern­ment on fund­ing ar­range­ments.

“And with more peo­ple than ever work­ing on the go, gov­ern­ment must unite be­hind the full roll­out of 5G and full-fi­bre broad­band. Here too, the north is break­ing new ground. Manch­ester is the first northern city to have 5G rolled out, Liver­pool is a test­bed for the use of 5G in health and so­cial care.

“The CBI will con­tinue to ar­gue the case for joined-up in­fra­struc­ture – both phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal.”

Mr Al­lan went on to say how the north needed both HS2 and NPR.

He added: “Then there’s Northern Pow­er­house Rail – which cur­rently re­lies on around 80km of HS2 in­fra­struc­ture.

“So, this isn’t a sim­ple ei­ther/or choice be­tween the two. We – and the north west – need both.”

CBI pres­i­dent John Al­lan

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