Transport for the North should be handed control of a huge swathe of the rail network, and councils in the region should borrow money to invest in infrastructure, according to a report.
Business body UK Northern Powerhouse’s Building the Northern Powerhouse report set out a series of recommendations for accelerating the economic growth of the region.
The study followed a conference in Manchester earlier this year, and built on a series of government announcements aimed at creating a stronger economy in the North by linking major cities.
“Local authorities need extensive rights to raise (and reinvest locally) rates, property and council taxes and developer contributions,” said the report.
“Both local authorities and central government should be braver about borrowing to invest in infrastructure and housing. Their cost of capital is at an all-time low. Prudent long term borrowing for capital projects could dramatically improve the prospects for the region.”
It added that locally-run body Transport for the North should take over responsibility for the rail network in the region.
The report said this would ensure “promised investment is delivered at the earliest opportunity, integration with HS2 is achieved and capacity for passengers and freight is optimised”.