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Minister insists Northern Powerhouse is a ‘story of success’

A government minister has insisted the Northern Powerhouse is a ‘story of success’, just days after a damning report into the devolution project.

Over the weekend, the government re-affirmed its commitment to the Northern Powerhouse as it celebrated its fifth anniversary and said it is ‘looking ahead to the next five years’ with an ‘ambitious strategy, which will build on the progress made so far’.

According to government, it is spending £13bn on transport in the region and there are 287,000 more jobs in the North since the launch of the Northern Powerhouse in 2014.

‘The Northern Powerhouse is more than a plan for the future, it’s a story of success,’ said minister Jake Berry.

‘From record investment in transport to more than £5bn in devolution and growth deals across the North we are making progress towards rebalancing our economy but we are determined to do even more to make sure the whole of the North can reach its full potential.’

But a report published last week by IPPR North claimed the government’s austerity agenda has undermined the region’s economy and held back the Northern Powerhouse project.

According to the think tank’s study, the North has seen a £3.6bn cut in public spending sine 2009, while the South East and the South West saw a £4.7bn rise, in real terms.

In the same time period, transport spending rose by more than twice as much per person in London (£330 per person) as in the North (£149 per person), in real terms.

And total foreign direct investment jobs fell by 23.7 per cent between 2015/16 and 2017/18 in the North, while falling by 21.5 per cent nationally over the period.

Research has shown the North is twice as vulnerable to Brexit as London.

All of England’s regions have serious economic problems – including our capital. Power and resources are hoarded in Westminster and people in all corners of the country miss out,’ said senior research fellow, Luke Raikes.

‘That’s why the Northern Powerhouse agenda is important. If we work to power up the North, we can build a fairer, stronger economy for the whole of the UK.

‘The North of England must now be a political priority, and the government must go further with devolution and investment to the region.’

Photo by k_r_craft (Pixabay)

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