ResPublica calls for Council of the North

The Northern Powerhouse must not be left behind in a post-Brexit Britain, warned Brexit campaigner and Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton at the think tank’s Finding True North conference on Friday.

ResPublica, a think tank, called for a fundamental change in the way society is run and a “resurrection of the North” through its Manifesto for Finding True North.

Download Manifesto for the North

Communities Secretary Greg Clark was also expected at the heavyweight political conference being held at the Lowry arts centre in Salford Quays.

A dedicated council for the North would bring together leaders from the cities and regions to counter London-centric policymaking as well as reducing the layers of bureaucracy at local government level.

The manifesto makes several recommendations around energy, innovation tech, employment and benefits, and housing. If drastic new measures to devolve powers to the North are not implemented, the think tank writes, the Northern Powerhouse dream could fail.

On housing, the manifesto calls for retention of Stamp Duty Land Tax receipts to fund building and create private rented sector funds.

Wharton said: “I welcome the active debate around the future direction and evolution of the Northern Powerhouse. Congratulations to ResPublica for this contribution, it is an important project and has the potential to deliver real long term benefits to our economy.”

Clark added: “This is an important and thought-provoking Manifesto that deserves to be carefully considered. The Government will work closely with partners across the North to devolve more power to people and places in order to realise our ambitious plans to build a Northern Powerhouse.”

Director of ResPublica, Phillip Blond, said: “Post Brexit it is vital we don’t lose the North once more, we must maintain the urgent reinvention of our country and we must demand from those who would be our leaders that they mirror their paeans to social justice with a new deal for the North equal in scale and ambition to what Roosevelt offered America in the 1930s.

“This disparity cannot continue. We need Northern leaders to collaborate beyond city and region, to come together as a Council of the North and demand systemic and transformational change from the Westminster government. The north needs massive at scale investment across multiple sectors at the same time, it needs to recreate its entire economic eco-system and make ‘Whole North’ choices and ‘Whole North’ investments.”

The manifesto describes poor job creation in the North despite high UK employment rates. Almost 2.4 million jobs were created in the UK between 2006 and 2015. Yet across the North of England just 360,000 jobs were created during the period.

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….and will this council no doubt be based in Manchester? Wielding preferential power over all it’s neighbouring cities and hoarding wealth and investment just like its poster boy…..London.

I don’t think there needs to be more layers of politics in this, just a mutual and honest effort to develop and empower all parts of the north equally starting with ALL its major cities. All we’ve seen so far is ever more focus on Manchester and lip service to anywhere else and that will only result in the same problems with London replicated in the north of England.

By Michael McDonough

Why don’t the other cities outside Manchester,show the same creativity and determination to succeed? It is no good moaning.You need to actively promote yourselves.Manchester is chosen because it demands to be heard.

By Elephant

Other cities do promote themselves Elephant, Liverpool is doing a damn good job of it, often better than Manchester, that’s when some in Manchester get worried because they want it to be the centre of everything…..

By Alfie

Sorry Alfie, I completely disagree. Liverpool deserves better promotion than Big Joe’s self-aggrandisement and some borrowed French puppets can muster. Manchester (including Salford) pulls every further ahead and the Liverpool decision makers need to seriously up their game before Liverpool is regarded as the Hull of the West Coast.

By riverside

Liverpool is indeed an iconic city and I meant no disrespect to it,but it is fast becoming a theme park city like York or Bath.This needs to alter,before it’s future is behind it and it turns into a living museum with a nice Waterfront. Manchester and Liverpool need to work together and rejuvenate the whole of what was South Lancashire and North Cheshire.Parochialism is holding the North West back.

By Elephant

I agree Elephant, the two cities do need to work together much better, but as equals. Liverpool has a lot to offer the North that Manchester can’t fulfill. It was a world city and still is to an extent, and the northwest needs Liverpool as much as Manchester. It can have clout, but some in Manchester don’t want that, and they do work against it. They are coupled cities, almost joined at the hip, and ever will be, but they see themselves very differently. That won’t change, Liverpool is different from Manchester, but the truth is their economic areas overlap. Liverpool won’t go away, much as some in Manchester would like it to. Manchester needs to accept Liverpool, world city that it is/was, because it’ll always be Manchester’s counterweight. Liverpool operates in what Manchester sees as its space just as much as the other way round and as Liverpool gets continually better many businesses will continue to vote for Liverpool, just as many of the Northwest people (and beyond) now choose Liverpool for a day out over Manchester. So yes, they’ll be stronger together long term, but Liverpool can’t disappear into Manchester, it’s an equal with a very strong international profile and always will be. So Manchester as centre of everything… no, will never happen… The north needs all it’s cities and will be stronger for it… so Manchester, forget it, you can’t fly away and pretend Liverpool doesn’t exist… capital of the north ha… half your people prefer Liverpool and I see them every day.

By Alfie

You are right Alfie.The North West is unique in having two great cities.No other region has this and with the hinterlands of both places touching,we should easily be able to counterbalance London,which of course at one time we did.The industrial powerhouse,to London’s commercial powerhouse. Governments of all colours have neglected,probably the most creative region in Europe.Despite George Osborne’s claims,the level of investment in the North West,particularly on transport is pretty feeble.

By Elephant

Yes Elephant, Liverpool-Manchester, they could counterbalance London like no other coupling.

By Alfie

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