North calls on party leaders to set out plans to close the north-south divide

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which has called on party leaders to set out plans to close the north-south divide.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership has called on Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson to each pledge to come to the north to make a keynote general election speech addressing the critical issues that matter to the 15 million people living there.

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “This election offers the three main parties a golden opportunity no government in living memory has achieved – to rebalance the UK economy, capturing a trillion pound economic gain for the country over the coming decades. The 'Power up the North' campaign this summer saw 33 regional newspapers across the north join forces to call on the major political parties to commit to the Northern Powerhouse in full. The forthcoming election is the chance to truly demonstrate this commitment, as northern voters decisions will be what the result will likely rest on.

“Beyond Brexit, we are challenging those leaders to focus on tackling the inequalities that exist between north and south, the barriers to a balanced country. Our train network has had no new line from west to east since the Victorian era, and its lack of reliability and capacity causes misery for commuters and sluggish productivity for businesses. We need major infrastructure investment; not, as some would suggest, having to choose between HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail but seeing both delivered in full, all the way, north to south, east to west. Improving local bus services alongside trams, the lifeblood of communities, must also be a commitment.”

Murison added: “The key to unlocking the potential of the Northern Powerhouse is devolution – giving greater control to our regional leaders to tackle challenges and embrace opportunities in their area. We are calling on candidates to grant 100% devolution to the north, and increased powers for those areas with existing deals. 

“The prize for whichever party that wins the election is huge. This election cannot be and must not be purely about Brexit. It must also be about the transformational chance to rebalance the UK and create a country that works for everyone,” he said.

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