Powerhouse plans on track as minister visits

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AMBITIOUS plans to build a Northern Powerhouse remain a key government priority, two ministers tasked with driving forward the project have confirmed

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Jim O’Neill and Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy will lead the work across the whole of government to help make the north a powerhouse for the UK economy once again and build on the work of the last two years.

The ministers’ comments come ahead of the first official tour by Mr Percy to the north since his appointment and today he will visit Hull, Manchester and Liverpool to hear for himself how devolving greater power from Whitehall to town halls and greater investment is leading to the creation of jobs and stronger economic growth.

Devolution deals have been agreed in Sheffield, Greater Manchester, the North East, Tees Valley and Liverpool.

Mr O’Neill said: “Making our great northern towns and cities a powerhouse for the economy once again is the reason I joined government, and there is evidence everywhere you look that our plans have already made a real impact.

“It is fantastic to be able to continue to champion the Northern Powerhouse within the very heart of government and there will be no let-up in our commitment to fuel the local economy through encouraging foreign investment, improving transport and creating new jobs.

“We know that our model to pull the region together is working, and we want other great regions across the country to consider how this approach could benefit them.”

Brigg and Goole MP Mr Percy said building the Northern Powerhouse was a long-term government priority and central to plans to rebalance the economy.

“As a proud Northerner, I am determined to ensure that people in every part of the North – from large cities to small rural communities – enjoy greater control over their lives and stronger, more sustainable economic growth.

“That’s why this Government will continue to support major investments to unlock the potential of the North.”