Greater Manchester’s mayor urges solidarity of northern regions in order to ‘fulfil potential’
Friday 22nd September 2017 @ 10:28 by Nigel P.
Business Community Greater Manchester

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A summit meeting called for an overarching regional ‘Northern Council’ to secure investment in infrastructure especially in transport links in order to rebalance ” a simply too Londoncentric” UK

 

The formation of a regional northern council took a small step closer as leaders of the major northern conurbations expressed the need for an overarching body to represent the region’s interests.

Mayors and leaders from Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Newcastle, Leeds and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority discussed the formation of an entity that will provide a strong, unified voice for the north.

The talks were held two days ago to consolidate August’s transport summit in Leeds.

That conference saw civic leaders call on the Government to honour its commitments in improving pan-Northern transport infrastructure.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “If the North is to get the investment it has been promised, and fulfil its vast potential, we must come together, work together, and speak with one voice.

“Today’s meeting was an important step towards achieving that. The North of England is getting organised and can no longer be ignored.”

The meeting also confirmed support for the work being done by Transport for the North in this field and saw discussions  for a Council of the North move forward.

There is now a realistic likelihood that a first meeting could be held in Newcastle in 2018.

An inaugural meeting there would coincide with the Great Exhibition of the North, an event being held jointly by Newcastle and Gateshead between June and September next year.

Leaders also expressed a desire for representatives of northern cities to be part of the Brexit negotiations as well as have an input on all important investment in infrastructure.

 

Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram said: “This was another really positive gathering and strengthened the growing sense that we need to work more collaboratively to ensure the interests of our regions are forcefully presented within national political debate.

The UK is simply too Londoncentric and we need to be inventive and determined if we are going to off-set its disproportionate influence and share of national resource.

Bringing political, business and civic leaders together to help explore how best we can achieve this is an important, and probably overdue contribution, to the task of rebalancing both our politics and our economy.”