Northern Powerhouse gains traction as parliamentary group launches

The north of England can expect to see more investment and a stronger economy with the launch of a new group taking the focus away from London.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which is chaired by ex-chancellor George Osborne, set up the new parliamentary group as part of a plan to attract more investment and “drive business, skills and economic growth”.

It is made up of both Labour and Conservative MPs, as well as council leaders, House of Lords peers and elected mayors.

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “We are too London-centric. Brexit is looming. We need investment in the regions. I don’t think we can bring all of this power back from Brussels and keep it in Westminster.”

More is needed

Bringing the major northern economies together, the group hopes to bridge the gap between productivity in the north and productivity in the south. According to the latest gross value added (GVA) figures, London’s output is 2.3 times that of the north-east, two times the north-west and 2.1 times Yorkshire and the Humber.

Conservative peer Lord Heseltine believes that more needs to be done in some areas to get the focus away from the capital, and not just to the north.

He said: “We have got mayoral authorities – I believe there is improvement coming – but look at Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, South Hampshire, South Devon. There is no devolution of any great consequence there.”

The new parliamentary group will be chaired by Conservative MP for Carlisle John Stevenson.

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