'Rural boost' from Northern Powerhouse

RURAL communities will benefit from plans to boost economic growth in northern England, says a government minister.

Northern Powerhouse minister Andrew Percy said: "Building the Northern Powerhouse is a long-term government priority and central to our plans to rebalance the economy."

Many people have voiced concern that rural areas will be overlooked as the government presses ahead with its proposals to revitalise northern cities

But Mr Percy said people in both the city and in the countryside would benefit from the plan which would attract major investment to the region,.

"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.

Mr Percy said the government would continue to support major investments to unlock the potential of the north and ensure that every area benefited from a growing economy.

Ambitious plans to build a Northern Powerhouse remain a key priority, said the government on Wednesday (27 July).

Devolving greater power from Whitehall to Town Halls and greater investment was already leading to the creation of jobs and stronger economic growth, said Mr Percy.

Key achievements for the Northern Powerhouse to date included five historic devolution deals – in Sheffield, Greater Manchester, North-East, Tees Valley and Liverpool.

Some 55% of the population of the Northern Powerhouse will vote in an elected Mayor next year, giving each area a powerful new voice in national life.

Major investment in transport has been committed including a new rail franchise delivering 2,000 extra services each week, £200m for transport and a £60m package to explore work on HS3.

The government says the employment rate in the Northern Powerhouse is close to its record high, an unemployment has fallen faster in the north than in the south since June 2014.

Treasury commercial secretary Jim O'Neill: "There is evidence everywhere you look that our plans have already made a real impact."

He added: "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."


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