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