COUNCILS in the North should have tax-raising powers to invest in infrastructure if the Government wants to deliver on its ‘northern powerhouse’ promise, according to a new report.
It also recommends Transport for the North, the body set up to develop plans for a vastly improved transport network in the North of England, should be given direct control of the rail network.
The report is based on input from politicians, council figures and businesses which took part in the UK Northern Powerhouse conference held in Manchester earlier this year.
Keith Griffiths, from conference organisers UK Northern Powerhouse International, said: “The recommendations will accelerate the delivery of the Northern Powerhouse vision. At the UK Northern Powerhouse conference over 2,000 businesses demanded reform, with many recognising regional cities must be empowered further.
“These businesses haven’t got it wrong, many have waited decades to have an opportunity to deliver once in a lifetime change and progress for the region.
“They know their local markets inside out and must be engaged to take forward a strategy that will fuel the northern economy.”
The report, which will be launched tonight in Parliament, also suggests the creation of a ‘Northern Powerhouse Institutional Investment Fund’ which could attract private sector investment in the North.
Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney, who leads an all-party group of northern backbench MPs, said: “It is great to see this private sector initiative responding to the Chancellor`s plan to promote wealth creation across the North.
“Rebalancing the UK economy in the face of challenging global market conditions will play a key part un underwriting the nation`s future prosperity.”