Supporting rapid progress on High Speed 2 is among the priorities for the new Northern Powerhouse Partnership, launched today by former Chancellor George Osborne.
The body will include business leaders as well as figures from the public sector and politics. It will be chaired by Osborne and is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which is privately funded.
The Partnership said it will focus on priorities including ‘rapid progress’ on HS2 and supporting the One North transport strategy, including Northern Powerhouse Rail, which is says is vital for the success of the Northern Powerhouse – Transport for the North is currently recruiting for a £100,000 Northern Powerhouse Rail Director to lead a £15bn programme.
It says the key to delivering the Northern Powerhouse vision spearheaded by Osborne, is a combination of substantial devolution including metro mayors, as well as investments in transport infrastructure, science, skills and culture. It aims to keep the momentum going in Osborne’s concept, which first launched in June 2014. Its work will include commissioning its own research and working with other organisations to produce research and insight to support work already underway. It will also support local leaders and mayors through ideas and sharing best practice.
Osborne said: “When I launched the idea of Northern Powerhouse I said I would work tirelessly with anyone and everyone to make it a reality. But even I have been taken aback by the huge support it’s attracted, across political parties, businesses and communities.
“In the space of just two years, we’ve created powerful new mayors, committed to huge new transport and science projects, and attracted investment from around the world.
“There’s a real excitement now in the north about what we can achieve if we work together. I don’t want us to lose that. That’s why I’m so pleased major businesses, civic leaders and others have worked with me to create this new Northern Powerhouse Partnership. I’m also glad that the government has given its support.
“Chairing this new Partnership will now be a major focus of my political energies. The Northern Powerhouse is here to stay.”
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid added: “This government realises the huge untapped potential of our great northern towns and cities. That is why I warmly welcome the launch of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.
“I hope it will become an important part of the debate and help us to do all we can to further boost jobs, growth and opportunities in the north of England.”
Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds said: “New transport infrastructure and connectivity are absolutely vital for boosting growth, improving productivity, opening up opportunity and increasing wellbeing in the North of England. Mace has worked on major infrastructure and development schemes in the North for over 20 years, and we have seen first-hand the unrivalled passion, excitement and dedication of local people to turn the Northern Powerhouse from rhetoric to reality.
“The Northern Powerhouse Partnership will be the strong business voice the North needs and an important contributor to the future direction and development of the North of England. Our British heritage means that Mace is especially committed to unleashing the North’s full potential.”