Manchester City Council

Northern (Power) House(s)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech in Manchester yesterday got headline coverage around the idea of a virtual supercity of the North.

The idea of improved transport links between northern cities leading to the economic benefits of agglomeration is not new.  In the last decade the Northern Way initiative in particular did a lot of very positive work on the economic necessity of improved transpennine links, linked into a new high-speed railway. Some improvements are happening.  The Northern Hub work and the electrification of key routes are important steps forward, as long as we get the rolling stock to make use of the new capacity created.  However it still won't be enough.  In the last few months I've convened a meeting of city leaders from across the North to talk about transport investment for the north, and the five Combined Authorities are supporting a piece of work, led by Transport for Greater Manchester, to try and develop an investment plan running from now to 2030 that the whole of the north can get behind.  If journey times can be reduced sufficiently we will get enormous economic benefit.  We can and should do a lot to improve the existing infrastructure but ultimately we will need a new line connecting Leeds and Sheffield and places beyond including Hull, Hull docks and Newcastle with Manchester and Manchester Airport and Liverpool and Liverpool docks.  Compared to say London 's cross-link, such a new line is both realistic and affordable and the North should have the ambition and drive to make sure it happens.

Closer to home, this morning we announced Manchester Life, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi United Group, the owners of Manchester City and the City Council, which aims to invest up to a £billion in new housing for East Manchester over the next ten years.  When ADUG bought the football club they committed not only to building MCFC as a successful club and a global brand, but also to strengthening an already impressive track record of community involvement and to supporting the regeneration of East Manchester .  The new training facility and the adjacent Leisure Centre, Sixth-Form College and Sports Health Science Centre, all under construction, are already testament to honouring that commitment.  The Manchester Life investment takes it to a whole new level.  It's a commercial deal but a commercial deal based on trust and commitment to the city which will give unprecedented investment in and impetus to the renewal of the east of our city.



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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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