‘More power for the north’ say leaders
THE battle cry was ‘More power for every city in the north’, as leaders gathered at the Convention of the North.
Bringing together city and business chiefs as well as key figures from the voluntary sector, there was a call for ‘a new, clean industrial revolution’ – led by the north.
A discussion panel including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, Transport for the North’s (TfN) John Cridland and former leader of Newcastle city council, Lord John Shipley, emphasised the need to inspire young people that they could have a positive future in the region, through better road and rail links, education, skills, and a boosted economy.
Mr Burnham said: “I want the whole of the north to have at least the same level of devolution as Manchester because when that happens, when we’re side by side, we will be able to do so much more for ourselves.
He continued: “I don’t want the north to be associated with decline any more.
“Can we have a north that’s associated with new industry rather than old industry, a conglomeration leading the way for clean growth, digital technology, health tech?
“Can that be our reputation?
“Leading the new industrial revolution.”
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester council, told our sister paper the M.E.N. they needed to demonstrate to the government about how things – including rail – would work better if the north had more power over decisions.
The convention called for TfN to have more power over highway upgrades, rail franchising and Network Rail, so that northern leaders can choose upgrades are and when.
Throughout the day, which needed there was also talk of the ‘skint’ government – and how the north should seek to ‘unlock’ investment from the ‘hundreds of billions of pounds’ the private sector was waiting to deploy.
●●Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham was on the discussion panel at the Convention of the North in Gateshead