Theresa May gives backing to Northern Powerhouse project

22 Aug 16

Theresa May has pledged to spread devolution to more of England as part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse drive.

In an article in The Yorkshire Post, May said that for too long, the United Kingdom has been much too dependent on growth in London and backed the development of the Northern Powerhouse. This was an initiative by former chancellor George Osborne to boost the power of cities in the North of England and get them to work closer together to create agglomeration benefits.           

In her article, May said her government would build a country that works for every one of us, in every part of the UK – not just the privileged few.

“Yorkshire is a key part of our vision for a Northern Powerhouse – our plan to help the great cities and towns of the North pool their strengths and take on the world. Here is how we are going to make that plan happen.”

She highlighted that the Sheffield city region has agreed a devolution deal with Whitehall, and would vote for a combined authority mayor next May.

This was devolving real power, she stated. “The population of this region is more than five million but until recently there has been no devolution of power to Yorkshire people. Now we’re changing that.

“We’ve started with a major devolution deal for Sheffield City Region, and their new mayor will be elected next May, giving people there a powerful new voice. I want the government to work with people here to bring the benefits of devolution to other parts of Yorkshire too.”

She also confirmed government plans for high speed rail investment in both the north-south High Speed 2 line and the proposed east-west High Speed 3 scheme.

The comments come after the Department for Transport shortlisted five routes for the Trans-Pennine tunnel between Manchester and Sheffield, which could almost halve journey times between the cities.

All five routes join the M60 east of Manchester to the M1 north of Sheffield, with four options starting at the M67, and will see journeys cut by 30 minutes.

Transport minister John Hayes said this would support the Northern Powerhouse.

“We are already spending £15bn on the biggest upgrade to the road network for generations,” he said.

“This next phase is aimed at creating more vital links, creating jobs and opportunities and helping hardworking families across the country feel the benefits of our investment.”

John Cridland, chair of Transport for the North, added: “This is just one of the visionary projects Transport for the North is working on, as well as other schemes, such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, as we continue to develop a transport and investment strategy to connect the North and transform its economy.”

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