Chancellor George Osborne has warned that the Northern Powerhouse must not be left behind in a post-Brexit Britain as a think tank called for major changes to transport and infrastructure in the North.
Launching a new report Manifesto for Finding True North from ResPublica, Mr Osborne said: ‘One clear message from the referendum was that there were parts of our country which felt left behind and one of the reasons that I said two years ago that we needed to build a Northern Powerhouse was to make sure the whole country shares in our economic prosperity.
A high-speed rail line from coast to coast would go through Leeds
‘If anything the referendum result is even more of an instruction to deliver the Northern Powerhouse and make it a reality.’
He added: ‘We have made enormous progress. We have secured agreement to elect five powerful new mayors across the North; we have made substantial transport investment commitments and we have also made major commitments in science, research and culture.
‘That is all designed to create an environment where the private sector can invest more and help build up the North. That is something I am passionate about and committed to and we have to make this work now.’
In its ‘manifesto’, ResPublica backed calls for the construction of a high speed east-west rail line connecting Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle, ‘in order to take advantage of the potential for growth across the Northern economy’.
It said ‘all powers available to Transport for London should be available to directly elected mayors and their administrations to create smart, integrated local transport networks’.
The think tank also called for Transport for the North to be rebranded as Infrastructure for the North and its remit expanded to include wider infrastructure aims, to ‘allow for a genuinely integrated Northern infrastructure strategy, covering not simply transport investment but also broader needs including housing and energy’.