Liverpool-based Downtown in Business is organising the August event in response to the Govevernment’s refusal to commit to high-speed rail for the North of England. Tony McDonough reports
Business and political leaders will gather for a major transport summit in late August to discuss the lack of transport investment in the Northern Powerhouse.
Last week the Government announced that London’s £32bn Crossrail 2 project would go ahead but will not commit to the equally critical Crossrail for the North, which would link Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Hull.
Co-ordinated by Liverpool-based Downtown in Business (DIB) the summit in Leeds on August 23 will include speeches from Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and his Greater Manchester counterpart Andy Burnham.
Leaders from other Northern cities will also speak.
DIB chief executive Frank McKenna said: “When I heard the news I contacted Andy Burnham to see what business could do to help reverse this incredibly poor, short-sighted decision.
“Andy and I thought a summit involving key business leaders and politicians from right across the north would offer the opportunity for us to demonstrate to the Government the strength of feeling there is over the Crossrail for the North announcement.”
Strength of feeling
Steve Rotheram has urged Government minsters to attend the summit to hear the strength of feeling on the issue.
He said: ““The Government created this situation and the reaction across the North from politicians of all parties, business leaders and wider stakeholders reflects deep-seated unease about the Government’s commitment to economic rebalancing.
“There has been a massive investment bias in favour of London and the South East and unless this is redressed the Northern Powerhouse vision is simply empty rhetoric.”
Private sector partners
Mr Kenna added: “Anyone who believes that the UK is best served by an over reliance on our capital city, with our core cities being treated as second class conurbations has learned nothing from the past.”
The summit will bring together private sector partners from a range of business groups including DIB, the Northern Business Improvement Districts, chambers of commerce, the FSB, and the IoD.
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