Northern Powerhouse Rail and thoughts about the future of northern towns

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

That we northerners are pretty much all sceptics about investment in the north is probably a given, after all we’ve seen precious little of it for generations and through many governments. So it’s really no surprise when you hear Northern Poorhouse as opposed to the ‘correct’ Powerhouse; folks just don’t trust governments to deliver sustained investment in the north other than a light sprinkling of cash every now and then. Trouble is when government does send sixpence up the M6 some northern political leader gets far too over excited about it and says all kinds of daft over the top things which end up all but justifying the crumbs off the south eastern table of plenty.

Now don’t get me wrong I really do want to see significant sustained investment in the north, although I do fear that concentrating in and on the major cities is a big mistake as towns around the north suffer the greatest problems. The real danger of the present ‘City Region’ concept is that it will suck life out of towns surrounding major cities and concentrate it in major cities and I fear that this is process is already happening ‘up north’. Stripping civil service jobs out of Bootle and putting them in central Liverpool comes to mind.

The reality could end up being a Northern Powerhouse for the cities and Northern Poorhouse for the towns!

Note – The photo at the head of this posting is of a Northern Franchise Class 150 DMU carrying livery in support of Northern Powerhouse Rail. It was seen at Chester Station.

One thought on “Northern Powerhouse Rail and thoughts about the future of northern towns

  1. Bob Robinson says:

    This from the “Local Government Chronicle”

    “Fears Northern Powerhouse is now ‘north in name only’
    17 February 2020 By Jessica Hill
    Transport secretary Grant Shapps will take over the Northern Powerhouse brief at cabinet level, sparking fears from northern leaders that the Northern agenda will be sidelined now that the government has placed an MP from the home counties to drive it.
    Jake Berry stepped down from his position as Northern Powerhouse minister at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government last Friday. Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland, was made a junior minister at the ministry with a remit to pursue Mr Berry’s devolution agenda, but without the right to attend Cabinet, unlike the departed minister.
    Mr Shapps, who will pursue the Northern Powerhouse’s drive for more transport infrastructure in the North, is MP for Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire.
    On hearing the news that Mr Clarke would take over Mr Berry’s devolution responsibilities, Steve Rotherham (Lab), mayor of Liverpool City Region said: “For all Johnson’s talk about ‘levelling up’ the North, his first act is to downgrade the minister responsible. What kind of message does that send to people across the North whose borrowed votes helped put him in Downing Street?”
    He later said he had had a “productive call” with Grant Shapps but was “concerned” the Northern Powerhouse minister was “no longer someone from the North”. “This agenda is too important to become NINO – North in name only,” he said.

    On Friday, Mr Clarke had what he described as “really positive talks” with key figures including Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham (Lab) and chair of the NP11 board of Local Enterprise Partnerships in the North of England Roger Marsh. The minister claimed that “a shared sense of purpose” exists and that “the stars are aligned to level up”.
    Dan Jarvis (Lab), mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said it would be “a mistake” for the government to “exclude” Mr Clarke when “we have an opportunity to rebalance the economy”.
    “But the only way we will see real progress on creating a Northern Powerhouse is if the government embraces devolution of powers and resources. That way the North’s mayors can unlock prosperity for our towns and cities,” he said.
    LGC understands that Mr Clarke had been involved in devolution talks in his former role as exchequer secretary at the Treasury.
    Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, claimed it is “no accident” that Mr Clarke is a “close ally” of the new chancellor Rishi Sunak’s.

    “We now have a northern MP as chancellor,” he said of Mr Sunak, who is MP for Richmond in Yorkshire but is from Southampton. “The real voice is the chancellor, who will de facto lead for this agenda and has a strong interest in the transport for the North issues. That sends a strong message, a degree of commitment to the cause.”
    Mr Murison praised the prime minister for not choosing “one of the usual suspects” to be chancellor”.

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