Northern Powerhouse is the most powerful coalition of businesses ever seen
The Northern Powerhouse is one of the greatest coalitions of businesses ever seen in the North according to the minister responsible for the project.
Jake Berry, the MP for Rossendale and Darwen, is the man charged by Theresa May for overseeing the project.
He recently had his powers extended and believes the project is one of the most important facing the government in the post-Brexit era.
There has been criticism in some quarters that the project is starting to run out of steam.
But Mr Berry is adamant that is not the case.
He said: “The Northern Powerhouse isn’t just a plan for the future – it’s a story of success.
“We are delivering our Northern Powerhouse vision for a more prosperous North with good jobs, better roads and railways, higher-performing schools and world-beating universities.
“The North is in a position of strength and it remains a priority for the Government – as shown by our continued investment and commitment to a refreshed Northern Powerhouse Strategy this year.”
Only last week the Prime Minister made Jake Berry’s role a joint ministerial position across BEIS and MHCLG.
The aim is to ensure more coordination of local, regional and national economic growth policy and even better results for people across the north.
The North’s economy is now worth over £339bn – larger than Austria or Norway.
Northern Powerhouse exports now account for nearly 20 per cent of the UK’s total goods and services output.
Mr Berry is keen to keep pushing forward and points to a number of schemes in the pipeline.
He said: “Work also continues apace to ensure we deliver a transport network fit for the 21st Century.
“Our historic £13bn investment into transport improvements will improve connectivity across the North, create employment, increase tourism and encourage economic growth.
“Our commitment to deliver HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, and the creation of Transport for the North embody that ambition.”
He added: “It’s fair to say that the Northern Powerhouse is home to world-class cultural institutions which attract record numbers of visitors. We’re building on this success and furthering the legacy of the Great Exhibition of the North by supporting major cultural projects with the £15m Northern Cultural Investment Fund.”
Eight of the ten most visited cities and towns in England are in the Northern Powerhouse region.
All areas have also seen an increase in the number of visitors – up five per cent in the last year.
Mr Berry said that it is vital that the initiative maintains its impetus.
He said: “As we continue to build on our investment in the Northern Powerhouse, we’re creating one of the greatest coalitions of private and public sector bodies in the North’s history through our Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme.
“With nearly 250 Northern businesses from a company manufacturing vintage jukeboxes to globally recognised brands like Rolls Royce – working with us to boost exports, drive innovation and champion the great strengths of our regions, we are now witnessing unprecedented support from the business community for the Northern Powerhouse.
“What we’ve seen in the BBC’s relocation to Salford, Boeing’s new state-of-the-art facility in Sheffield and Channel 4’s new headquarters in Leeds are more businesses and organisations realising the enormous potential of the Northern Powerhouse.”
According to Mr Berry The Northern Powerhouse 2.0 will offer a refreshed vision.
The Government is working with metro mayors, local communities and partners across the public and private sectors.
And Mr Berry believes that power is being devolved from Westminster to the regions.
He said: “Through our trail-blazing devolution agenda we have been one of the most ambitious governments since the Second World War in taking power away from Whitehall and putting it directly into the hands of local people.
“Two years on from the election of the first metro mayors, it seems unthinkable that there would be no mayor of Manchester, Liverpool, Tees Valley, Sheffield and most recently, North of Tyne.
“Almost half of the people in the Northern Powerhouse are represented by a mayor with devolved powers which give them control over areas such as transport, finance, education and skills and housing.
“However, whilst the metro mayors are helping to shift the balance of power from Whitehall to the Town Hall, we are still too over reliant on London and we need to keep working on changing that.
“Devolution is bespoke to each area and there is no one size fits all policy. To secure devolution, areas need to make a significant offer to us on how they will ensure strong, strategic and accountable leadership across a clear economic geography.
“We believe the metro mayor model works and works well. It follows a successful model employed by towns, cities and regions across the globe who all have strong and accountable mayors taking ownership of their communities.”