Put a big-hitter like Michael Heseltine or George Osborne in charge of Northern Powerhouse as HS2 scepticism grows – Yorkshire Post letters

From: Ron Savege, Harrogate.

Graeme Bandeira's Power Up The North cartoon.
Graeme Bandeira's Power Up The North cartoon.

THANK you to Tom Richmond, your Comment Editor, for referring to the Government’s ‘lip service, sham and tokenism’ relating to the Northern Powerhouse. I can’t recall when this wasn’t the case, perhaps when George Osborne was a force?

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Northern Powerhouse Ministers are not known for their longevity, commitment or quality as far as I am aware. Economic vibrancy, most notably, has been generated in the region in the tourism industry (magnetised by cycling) and apparently led by celebrated local entrepreneurship. Notable government and commercial efforts or successes are not clearly reported or celebrated.

This image of the Angel of the North has become the symbol of the Power Up The North campaign.

Liverpool was the beneficiary of much well-reported support from Michael Heseltine in the 1970s and early 1980s. I believe that this support continued over many years. Liverpool is thriving, by comparison. Hull, with a similar economic history and geographic remoteness, less so.

A George Osborne or Michael Heseltine is needed to lead the Northern Powerhouse, perhaps then it would receive unwavering support.

Tory grandee Michael Heseltine.

Of course it’s not what you say, it’s what you do. One of the clearest indications of good intent would be a commitment by the Government on infrastructure, particularly rail. There should be something similar to ScotRail’s high speed Inter7City services, on behalf of Transport Scotland, which serve Scotlands seven cities. Newcastle to Carlisle, Middlesborough to Lancaster, York to Liverpool may be potential routes worth analysis.

While a former supporter of HS2, I have never been confident of Government understanding of this project. At first they didn’t understand the need for capacity rather than speed. Accordingly, Government committment, with speculation about the line extending to Birmingham only, looks dubious. Given this doubt, I would perhaps prefer a clear committment to rail focused on Northern links.

I totally accept your suggestion of a cull of Ministers.

From: Henry Cobden, Ilkley.

IN supporting calls for the Northern Powerhouse Minister to be in the Cabinet, who do you propose?

The Minister would have to be from the North – remember the furore when Richmond MP William Hague became Welsh Secretary – but the problem is that the Tories don’t exactly have a rich seam of talent to choose from.

David Davis, Julian Smith, Andrew Jones, Rishi Sunak or Esther McVey? No thanks.