Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has quit George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse Partnership, accusing the current Chancellor Philip Hammond of being “determined to poison and kill off” his predecessor’s legacy.
Mayor Anderson has resigned from his position at the NPP, set up by George Osborne in 2016 as “a voice of business and civic leaders” across the North.
In a statement to the BBC, Anderson said: “There are several bodies in the north, such as the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and Transport for the North providing government with this evidence but I no longer see the point of being a part of these bodies, set up by a government which isn’t prepared to listen to them.”
Anderson’s move follows reports in The Times that the Government had withdrawn an offer to fund a line linking Liverpool to HS2, despite promising money was “in the bag” prior to October’s Budget.
The mayor had also previously blamed the lack of HS2 connectivity for Liverpool losing out on its bid to be the new home of Channel 4, a decision which he branded “disappointing and hypocritical”.
“The current transport policy for the north is negatively impacting on the fortunes of cities like Liverpool and the potential to grow its economy, which will be even more important to the UK economy post-Brexit,” he said.
The Current Chancellor Hammond, is determined to poison and kill off the George Osborne legacy. Treasury games at play. Transport Minister to weak to force issue of rail connectivity.
Liverpool mayor quits Northern Powerhouse Partnership – BBC News https://t.co/9oQn8tZUSk
— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) December 9, 2018
Other political representatives on the board include Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council and Cllr Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council.
From the private sector, Mace’s Mark Reynolds, Chris Oglesby of Bruntwood, and Jonathan Moore of Arcadis also sit on the board.
George Osborne, Northern Powerhouse Partnership chair: “I want to thank Joe for his big contribution to our Northern Powerhouse Partnership. I understand his frustration with the Government over the Northern Powerhouse agenda, especially its lack of vision for high speed rail. It’s precisely why we need our Northern Powerhouse Partnership to be as strong and as active as it is, and will continue to be.”
Sheffield Council leader Dore added: “I will be remaining on Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s Board because as the North we must continue to make the case for what is right for our places, like my own city and the wider Sheffield City Region, because the Northern Powerhouse is a big idea with big benefits if we are supported by government to make the right investments.
“Transport connectivity to Manchester and Manchester Airport is hanging in the balance and I still have significant points of disagreement where promises risk being broken entirely. What industry can achieve working together with us can be shown by the AMRC and the investments by Boeing and McLaren in Rotherham. From building Small Modular Reactors in nuclear to leading the world in work based skills, my ambition is for Sheffield and the North to succeed.
“The Government backed us when I signed our devolution deal with them; we all need to play our part to make sure government or anyone else do not damage the prospects our young people and the future generations here in the North deserve.”