Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry tells Liverpool mayor to '˜calm down, calm down' over funding worries

A Tory minister has said Liverpool's mayor should 'calm down, calm down' over city funding concerns.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry, in a nod to comedian Harry Enfield’s famous “scousers in the pub” sketch, drew scoffs from opposition MPs for the quip.

The comments came in the Commons after shadow devolution minister Jim McMahon asked Mr Berry about Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson’s resignation from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

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Mr Anderson quit, saying the body was “set up by a government which isn’t prepared to listen” and that he can “no longer see the point of being a part of these bodies”.

Mr Berry, who is from Liverpool, announced the city would be receiving £34 million in investment from the Local Growth Fund - something which, he said, was “real evidence of the Northern Powerhouse in action”.

The term “northern powerhouse” was first used in 2014 by then chancellor George Osborne to encompass economic growth plans for northern England.

The NPP, which has been chaired by George Osborne since 2016, describes itself as an independent body that “represents the voice of business and civic leaders” in the region.

The Government set out its northern powerhouse strategy in the same year, saying it would invest in better transport and boost business and skills.

Mr McMahon, speaking in housing questions, said: “This weekend the mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson resigned from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership because he says he no longer sees the benefit, given it was set up by a Government who just doesn’t want to listen to them.

“At the same time IPPR North has painted a stark picture where the North gets £2,500 less investment on transport than in London.

“The Northern Powerhouse Minister has literally one job to do, what’s going on?”

Mr Berry responded: “As Harry Enfield and his chums would say about anyone from Liverpool including me, ‘calm down, calm down’.

“I can confirm today that we have announced £34 million for Liverpool.”

He added that the IPPR was a “left wing think tank” and completely refuted their figures.