Manchester City Council

One North

Just over five years ago, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer in a speech in Manchester put onto the public’s radar the ideas of the Northern Powerhouse and of a vastly improved transpennine rail service, HS3. Dismissed by many as a short term gimmick and unfairly by others as a failure because it didn’t bring instant success, the work to build a Northern Powerhouse is still going strong.

The clearest articulation of the thinking behind the Northern Powerhouse, an economically thriving region underpinned by 21st century pan-regional transport system, was in a report, One North, published in August 2014 by northern cities. In the intervening years, the north has continued to campaign with one voice for the investment we need to raise our economic performance to at least the national average, and progress has been made.

Even though the delivery has been appalling, the specification for the two northern rail franchises if delivered would be transformational. The Northern independent economic review provides a robust, high-level roadmap to future prosperity. We have an ambitious long-term strategic transport plan for the north, and the north continues to come together to make our case.

Last week, the second Convention of the North took place in Rotherham. A thousand people - politicians, business people, academics, voluntary organisations, journalists, young people, older people - came together to talk about what sort of north we want and we need to do to get it. The Prime Minister came - five years on this is still on the government’s agenda. 

The Northern Powerhouse was always going to be a ten years plus project but we are determined that it won’t slip off the national agenda, unless of course all the powers and resources we need are devolved to us in the north. Plans are already being made for next year’s Convention of the North in Liverpool but in between now and then we will continue to campaign, lobby, case make, and deliver on our journey to a self-sustaining north of England.

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

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