It’s now been over 20 months since George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke about creating a Northern Powerhouse for the UK, an initiative to reduce the North-South divide and rebalance the country’s economy establishing the North as a global powerhouse.
The latest debate from the team at Discuss will debate the issue at their next meeting on the 21st April
Not much has changed. The distribution of public spending on infrastructure, science, research, cultural institutions is still skewed to the south while austerity calls the creation of the Northern Powerhouse into question as local authorities are starved of resources needed to enable places to realise their potential.
Yet the North’s economy is growing more strongly than in decades relative to the south, devolution is giving power back to the cities and massive transport and other investment is planned. City Mayors, powers over business rates and in control of services mean that decades of centralisation are being reversed creating the conditions for the cities of the North to flourish.
Everyone agrees that progress will take time but are we witnessing the continuation of a poorhouse or a powerhouse in the making?
For the motion, Jim McMahon, the Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton. He won the seat in a by-election following the death of Michael Meacher. Previous to that he was the leader of Oldham Borough Council and widely acknowledged to be one of the most progressive and innovative council leaders in the country. He signed the Devolution agreement with George Osborne, but has been critical of its delivery and the harmful affects of austerity policies on communities in the North, and Karel Williams Professor of Accounting and Political Economy at Manchester Business School.
While against the motion, Sean Anstee Conservative Leader of Trafford Council and Clive Memmott, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
It will be all chaired by Susan Woodward is the Creative Media Champion for the City of Manchester responsible for creating and delivering strategic opportunities for the City to grow its digital and creative sector and takes place at the Central Library.
Details and tickets HERE