In his Autumn Statement, George Osborne said he was “ready to commit new money, new infrastructure, new transport and new science” to support the north, promising to invest £7bn in the region.
“Something remarkable has happened in Manchester, and in Liverpool and Leeds and Newcastle and other northern cities over these last 30 years too,” he explained. “The once hollowed-out city centres are thriving again, with growing universities, iconic museums and cultural events, and huge improvements to the quality of life.”
The Autumn Statement saw the government handing over £78m towards a theatre, £235m for a new science institute and a devolution deal of £1bn – alongside greater control over housing, transport and training.The Budget also set out further action to make the concept of a Northern Powerhouse a reality.
Read more about a Norther Powerhouse:
Osborne said: “Over the last year, the north grew faster than the south. We are seeing a truly national recovery.
“We don’t pull the rest of the country up, by pulling London down,” he added. “Instead we will build on London’s success by building the Northern Powerhouse.”
For this to happen the Budget announced plans to investment “in manufacturing and science and the northern powerhouse for a truly national recovery”.
“Working across party lines, and in partnership with the councils of the north, we are this week publishing a comprehensive transport strategy for the North,” he revealed.
The government will also be funding the Health North initiative.
“The days of the north waiting for crumbs to fall from the Westminster table are fast becoming history,” suggested Ed Cox, director at IPPR North. “Northern leaders are leading, rather than pleading – showing the clear financial case for a stronger northern economy and better transport network.”
Read more about the Budget:
The chancellor talked about the devolution of powers to Manchester. He called an agreement with Greater Manchester on an elected mayor “the most exciting development in civic leadership” for a generation.
He added: “We have now reached a provisional agreement to allow Greater Manchester to keep 100 per cent of the additional growth in local business rates as we build up the Northern Powerhouse.”
This will come in the form of numerous pilots also being tested in Cambridge and Peterborough. These pilots will begin in April 2015 and will reward additional growth to the local business rate base while maintaining the nationwide business rate retention and redistribution system.
Osborne said: “Where cities grow their economies through local initiatives, let me be clear: we will support and reward them.”
By Shané Schutte
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