Ministers in pledge over battle to end North-South divide

Peter Box: Leader of Wakefield Council backing our campaign for a fair deal for Yorkshire.
Peter Box: Leader of Wakefield Council backing our campaign for a fair deal for Yorkshire.
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THE Yorkshire Post’s 60 ideas to crack the North-South divide have made their mark in Whitehall after the Government pledged that the proposals will be at the “forefront” of Ministers’ minds.

Ministers are also ready to listen to ideas from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPS) if they could help boost the economy, a senior Government adviser said.

Wakefield Council has become the latest authority to back our Give us a Fair Deal campaign, saying that a level playing field would “redress the balance” of cuts.

The 60 proposals – from transport schemes to business incentives – were sent to Ministers as a call to action to boost the Yorkshire economy amid signs the North-South divide could be widening as the economy stutters.

In a Government response, the policy adviser at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Simon Jones, praised the pamphlet as “very constructive”.

Mr Jones said: “The ideas you have provided will be in the forefront of Ministers’ and policy makers’ minds as they make decisions on growth in the future.”

He also said Ministers would consider any proposals from LEPS. It comes as the Government considers an independent report into the future of Merseyside calling for special assistance to regenerate Liverpool.

Yesterday Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg re-iterated his desire to rebalance the economy by hosting a Downing Street reception to celebrate manufacturing.

“For too long we have seen manufacturing as part of our past. Along with communities around the country, I see it as our future,” he said at the event, attended by staff from Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

Meanwhile Wakefield Council leader Peter Box backed our campaign, saying: “If Yorkshire had the support and input from central Government that other parts of the UK get we would pay this back many times over in the greater contribution we would make to the wider national economy.”