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11.12.18

Liverpool mayor quits Northern Powerhouse Partnership claiming government ‘isn’t prepared to listen’

The mayor of Liverpool has quit the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP), arguing he no longer sees the point of the body, and claimed it was “set up by a government which isn’t prepared to listen.”

Joe Anderson took to Twitter to criticise the NPP ministers, claiming that “the lights in the NP have become much dimmer” since his appointment, and declared that “current chancellor Hammond is determined to poison and kill off the George Osborne legacy.”

The Northern Powerhouse strategy was published in 2016, with former chancellor George Osborne coining the phrase in 2014 in reference to encompass growth plans for the whole of northern England.

When it was set out, the government said the Northern Powerhouse “represents the voice of business and civic leaders” in the region and would provide investment in transport and local businesses.

But Anderson told the BBC: “We can't cut our way out of austerity.

“You have to invest for the long-term economic benefit and there is overwhelming evidence that investing in connections across the north would be good for UK plc.

“There are several bodies in the north, such as the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and TfN 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.”

Responding to Anderson’s decision, the current chair of NPP Osborne said: “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.”

When asked the mayor’s announcement, Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry told Anderson to “calm down, calm down,” referring to a famous Harry Enfield ‘Scouser’ sketch.

Responding, Anderson re-iterated his reasons for leaving the body: “It has a purpose, which is to drive economic growth and rail connectivity is a big part of that - but the government doesn't see that.

“A partnership is supposed to be a relationship, but I don't think that relationship is there,” and added “Jake Berry? I've got more confidence in Mary Berry.”

Driving the Northern Powerhouse will be the hot topic of dicsussion at EvoNorth in February next year. Click here to find out more.

Image credit -  Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

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