Give us 100% devolution, Northern Powerhouse tells party leaders

Northern Powerhouse Partnership issues list of demands for the next Government with just a few days to go before the polls open for the 2019 General Election. Tony McDonough reports

UK, Government, Downing Street
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership wants to see a significant power shift away from Westminster


A coalition of business and political leaders in the North of England says it wants whoever forms the next Government after Thursday’s General Election to commit to 100% devolution.

That heads a list of demands from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP), which includes senior business people and leaders from cities including Liverpool, issued just days before Britain goes to the polls.

Both the main parties – Conservative and Labour – have set out their approach to the Northern Powerhouse in separate speeches. This is in response to a challenge by the NPP to the main party leaders to come and speak to the North and address the critical issues that matter to the 15m people living here.

On Monday, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, was taking part in a Q&A event in Yorkshire while Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rebecca Long-Bailey, was addressing a business audience in Manchester.

Following the election result, the NPP will be seeking the following commitments from whoever forms the next Government:

  • Deliver 100% devolution to the North; a fundamental shift in decision-making out of Whitehall to Northern communities, cities and towns.
  • Commit to build both HS2, starting from the North, and Northern Powerhouse Rail in full, and overhaul the region’s wider local transport network through devolved funding and powers.
  • Commit an extra £1bn to Northern schools to tackle disadvantage; the most significant barrier to our children’s’ educational attainment.
  • Create an Industrial Strategy for the North to power the UK economy and lead the net zero target for the UK, focussing in particular on energy – building Small Modular Reactors, carbon capture and storage and decarbonising heat.
  • Rebalancing Research & Development spending, focusing on centres of advanced manufacturing, digital excellence and health innovation.
  • Build a new generation of social housing and affordable homes, as well as a mix of housing in areas with planned transport investment.
  • Provide world-class digital infrastructure to every city and town within five years, as well as boosting broadband in rural areas.
  • Create a Northern Powerhouse growth body led by and for the North to stimulate overseas trade and investment and commit a decade of funding to sustained major game-changing interventions.

Lord O’Neill, vice-chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said:The North needs to be a place of aspiration, confidence and opportunity, to turn back the tide of those left behind wherever they live, town or city, by building a more successful joined up and scaled up economy competing in the global stage and that will improve living standards.

This is an opportunity for the two main political parties to put some real, credible and affordable commitments on the table. With polling day fast approaching, this is the last chance to truly demonstrate their party’s getting serious about the North, in particular transforming transport, better education and meaningful devolution, as northern voters’ decisions will be what the result will likely rest on.”

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