THE GOVERNMENT’S Northern Powerhouse drive is about more than growing the North of England’s major cities, a minister has insisted.
Andrew Percy used a speech in York to confront the idea the initiative, launched by then Chancellor George Osborne, is focused on Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester.
The Brigg and Goole MP was made the minister responsible for the Northern Powerhouse last year.
In a speech to the Make it York organisation, he said: “Overall, the Northern Powerhouse is about all of the North reaching its full potential.
“This doesn’t just mean Manchester, or Leeds, or any of the bigger cities on the map.
“It is also about our smaller cities like York and our towns, to ensure that the UK economy is reflective of all of our regions strengths.”
Mr Percy later travelled to the site of the planned potash mine near Whitby for a naming ceremony.
The mine, which is set to bring around 1,000 jobs to North Yorkshire, has been named the “Woodsmith Mine”, in honour of two geologists who have played a key role in the development of the site, Peter Woods and Rick Smith.
Mr Percy said: “Today marks an important step for Sirius Minerals’ North Yorkshire mining project, which is a real vote of confidence in the economic potential of the Northern Powerhouse.
“The Woodsmith Mine has the potential to create over a thousand jobs and generate billions of pounds of exports for the region, and so I’m excited to see it progress.
“This is one of 13 major projects across the north the government has been pitching for investment - this is evidence of the scale of it and its value to the UK economy. This is a project of national importance.”