Sheffield and four other cities have pledged to work together with the Government to ‘ensure the full potential of a Northern Powerhouse is realised’.
Following George Osborne’s Budget announcement that a £300 million package has been given the green light to boost transport links in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, the leaders of Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle have signed a joint commitment to work collaboratively with the Government to deliver an economic vision for the North of England.
In a joint statement they said that it could only be achieved through ‘sustained long-term investment in people, places and infrastructure’.
In his Budget, Mr Osborne confirmed backing for the HS3 high-speed rail link between Manchester and Leeds, as well as the Crossrail 2 project to connect Surrey and Hertfordshire via stations in central London which is expected to cost £27-£32 billion in total.
Despite the Chancellor facing criticism that London was receiving greater investment than the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, the five cities’ statement said that improved transport links between the northern cities was a ‘key part’ and that the building of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ was ‘crucial’ to rebalancing the national economy.
The statement read: “Over the past 18 months, we have made good progress on ensuring that cities have the powers they need to fulfil this potential. This process is not complete: the Government remains committed to devolving powers throughout this Parliament.”
By 2030, the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ could provide 250,000 more jobs and £37 billion additional Gross Value Added to the national economy.
The statement added that it would work with “every part of the north” to meet their shared objectives.
It continued: “And we have also taken strong steps towards improving connectivity across the Northern Powerhouse.
“We now need to expand our focus to consider not just what powers places have, but also how these powers are used. In particular, we need to ensure that the powers that sit at national and local level are used in a coherent, collaborative way. It is only through working together that we can achieve our shared vision for the Northern Powerhouse.”
Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council, added: “Closer links will enable the great northern cities to compete not against each other but together at scale on a national and international stage. We need to redress a legacy of underinvestment in the North and capitalise on our existing strengths. It won’t happen overnight but we are all determined to deliver it.”