Scrapping Northern Powerhouse would be a disaster for Rochdale

August 9, 2016 9:40 AM
  • Rochdale's Lib Dem Leader calls for Government to confirm it's backing for Northern Powerhouse.
  • Claims that if it doesn't go ahead - we should pull out of an elected Mayor for Greater Manchester.
  • Calls for cross-party support to ensure Government keep their promises.

Rochdale's Lib Dem Leader Councillor Andy Kelly has called for the Government to confirm its commitment to the Northern Powerhouse. He was speaking after new Prime Minister Teresa May's new committee on the economy and industrial strategy met for the first time. They indicated that the focus may change from a 'Northern Powerhouse' to a broader distribution of the economy away from London and South East. Rumours persist that this could be the end of the project in its current form; a move that Councillor Kelly claims would be a "...disaster for Rochdale".

Councillor Andy Kelly, Rochdale Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate said: "Everyone knows that a Northern Powerhouse would have revolutionalised places like Rochdale. Rochdale would have been at the heart of this and this is an opportunity we simply cannot miss. George Osborne made it a key plank of the Conservative General Campaign and my feeling is that we need to do everything possible to ensure it is delivered."

Councillor Kelly cited a recent report of the Joseph Roundtree Foundation that named Rochdale as the "...most declining place in Britain". He claimed that the inclusion of Rochdale at the top of the list along with towns like Burnley, Bolton and Blackburn made the case for the Northern Powerhouse impossible to ignore.

He said: "It's clear that the north continues to loses out to places down south - we need to do something about it. That means investing in our region. I accept that other regions are in favour of a broader distribution of the economy. Everyone wants to look after their own patch. I would argue that we need to use the Northern Powerhouse as an example of delivering real results and investment. If we are successful, who says that anywhere in Britain can't follow. Plans for a Northern Powerhouse are far too advanced to give up now. It's too important for places like Rochdale. The reason Joseph Roundtree Foundation Report that named many northern areas as the 'most declining in Britain' should be even more reason to deliver this ambitious project."

Councillor Kelly also called for the leaders of all 10 Greater Manchester Authorities to unite and send a clear message that we won't accept anything other than the Conservatives keeping promises made at the last General Election. He said that they should go as far as opposing the forthcoming Greater Manchester Mayoral Election. He said: "If the Government cannot guarantee the Northern Powerhouse then we should remove the support for an elected Mayor for Greater Manchester. At the end of the day, that was part of the deal with George Osborne. By pulling support for a Mayoral Election that nobody asked for - we can send a clear, cross party message to the Government that we won't accept second best."