Northern voters ‘to set aside loyalties to parties’
Electors ‘think region gets bad deal from Whitehall’
VOTERS IN the North will set aside their party allegiances to put their faith in General Election candidates they believe will tackle the nation’s glaring regional inequalities, a leading think-tank has claimed.
A new wide-ranging survey revealed the vast majority of Northerners backed the Power Up The North campaign launched by a host of the region’s leading newspapers, including The Yorkshire Post, earlier this year.
The survey, commissioned by One Powerhouse, a consortium representing business, government and civil society figures and the think-tank, the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), found three-quarters of people think there is a big difference between the North and other regions in England. And 53 per cent of voters were more likely to opt for candidates who pledge more investment in the North.
The RSA’s director of public services and communities, Ed Cox, said: “Infrastructure and the North’s economic potential will rightly be at the forefront of voters’ minds on Thursday, and the Power Up The North campaign has been crucial to this success.
“It is right that untapped Northern potential is at the forefront of both political parties and voters’ minds, but infrastructure investment is only one part of the mix. We need a new Northern economy, powered by Northern citizens rather than Whitehall.”
Some 70 per cent of those questioned thought the North got a bad deal from the Government, and just five per cent believed this was not the case.
All of the UK’s major parties are battling for Northern votes.
The region represents a quarter of the electorate and will be critical in deciding the outcome, especially in the “red wall” of leave-leaning Labour-held seats that could swing to the Tories.
Sir Hugh Sykes, the chairman of the One Powerhouse Consortium, said: “It isn’t right that where you’re born should determine your life chances.”
The survey also found just 11
We need a new northern economy, powered by Northern citizens.
Ed Cox, director of public services and communities for the RSA.
per cent thought the North got its fair share of cash, and 66 per cent thought the economy would be stronger with a regional economic strategy. It also found 32 per cent think HS2 will be of benefit, while 43 per cent think the same about HS3, also known as Northern Powerhouse Rail between major northern cities.
Henri Murison, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s director, said: “We need 100 per cent devolution as a pre-requisite, so that we get the full benefits of elected leaders making their locally-led decisions.”
IT IS no secret that voters in the North of England will be critical in determining the outcome of this week’s General Election, particularly in the socalled ‘red wall’ of currently Labour-held but Leavebacking constituencies which the Conservatives need to win to deliver Boris Johnson a majority.
But while the importance of the region from an electoral perspective has been clear to all major parties as they pump resources into retaining and winning seats, voters of all political persuasions living in the North are widely convinced they are currently being let down by Westminster and Whitehall and back the Power Up The North campaign launched by this newspaper and others earlier this year to redress the balance.
A new survey reveals 70 per cent of regional voters think the North gets a bad deal from Government, with just five per cent believing this is not the case. In the short-term over half were more likely to vote for candidates who pledge more investment for the North while in the longer term two-thirds want to see the introduction of a regional strategy for economic growth.
One of the recurrent themes of this election has been the breakdown of traditional party allegiances as part of the continuing fallout to the 2016 Brexit referendum, as many turn away from parties they and their families have supported throughout their lives. It means all parties have a golden opportunity to win over wavering voters in the North by tackling the nation’s glaring regional inequalities.
Whatever Government is formed as a result of Thursday’s election, it is vital that the grand promises which will undoubtedly come from all quarters in the next few days prove to be much more than the empty words they have sadly ended up being in the past. Meaningful changes must be delivered after electioneering comes to an end.