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Report: 'Northern Powerhouse' is smoke and mirrors

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aformeruser

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The Guardian said:
George Osborne’s “northern powerhouse” plan to rebalance the UK economy away from London and to the north of England has been dismissed as “smoke and mirrors”.

A new report by the Liberal Democrats argues that without real investment, the northern powerhouse is just a buzzword that is stronger on rhetoric than substance.

Osborne coined the term in 2014, when the Conservatives were still in coalition with the Lib Dems, who are long-term proponents of devolution. The party now argues the project is just “a smokescreen to hide cuts that have been implemented across communities and local government”.

As part of the northern powerhouse agenda, the government has so far agreed devolution deals worth £30m a year for 30 years with combined authorities in Greater Manchester, the Liverpool region, the Sheffield region and the north-east. Another, worth £15m a year for 30 years, has been agreed with Tees valley, and the West Midlands has negotiated a deal worth £36.5m a year.

But the report, entitled The Northern Powerhouse: Smoke & Mirrors?, argues that the additional funding doesn’t compensate for cuts made to council budgets. From 2010-11 to 2015-16 there was a 40% estimated real-terms reduction in central government funding to the relevant local authorities, the authors claim.

“There is very little revenue funding associated with the devolution deal projects. The vast majority of income relates to capital income over the next 30 years – much of which the local authorities would have received in one form or another anyway. This is more than offset by cuts to the budgets of first tier and joint authorities within the city regions,” the authors argue.

The report also criticises Osborne for forcing elected mayors on local authorities as a condition of devolution. John Pugh, MP for Southport, said: “These are unwanted elected mayors, adding a further level of power that central government can dictate to. They are inherently undemocratic, forced in place against the will of referendums, or, as in the case of Merseyside, without any referendum, taking even more power away from the citizens of the region.” The mayors will be elected next May.

Nick Clegg, MP for Sheffield Hallam, was deeply involved in the northern powerhouse plan when he was deputy prime minister. But he is now critical of the transport investment announced, particularly Osborne’s commitment to building a fast line between Manchester and Leeds, known as HS3. “The northern powerhouse is failing to live up to the dream that we envisioned in the coalition. Instead, it is being used as an excuse to put in place piecemeal devolution and changes but with the rhetoric of great change. The recent announcement to ‘green light’ HS3 proves this. The link from Manchester to Leeds is ignoring areas like Liverpool and Sheffield, who are being left off the transport grid,” said Clegg.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...owerhouse-is-smoke-and-mirrors-claim-lib-dems

Have we seen even one complete 'Northern Powerhouse' project for which the plan was drawn up after the 'Northern Powerhouse' term was invented?

The full report is here: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.n...65223932/TheNorthernPowerhouse.pdf?1465223932
 
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me123

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And in other news Pope Francis is confirmed to be a Roman Catholic.

Of course it's a sound bite, straight from the lips of the sound bite chancellor. Very little has changed, it's just an umbrella term for a few minor policies.
 

YorkshireBear

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Generally agree however, I believe it has made one change.

I think it made the bidders for the Northern and TPE franchise more ambitious, and led to a much better deal for the passengers from the respective franchises.
 

aformeruser

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I think it made the bidders for the Northern and TPE franchise more ambitious, and led to a much better deal for the passengers from the respective franchises.

Most of the changes proposed for Northern have existed in plan form for a while. A Network Rail RUS' have recommended plans like Pacer withdrawal, 3 car EMUs for Yorkshire (to allow 6 car formations), while many of the service enhancements and infrastructure changes were included in the Northern Hub document. Even brand new DMUs was an idea was previously examined (prior to 2010), dropped due to electrification plans and resurrected due to electrification not progressing quickly enough. While 323 replacement had also been looked at before and was resurrected due to Porterbrook refusing to agree long term leases for 323s with Northern bidders.

TPE is a bit different though. While 6tph between Manchester and Leeds and Liverpool-Preston-Scotland services were included in the Northern Hub, the Edinburgh-Liverpool via the ECML idea was new and an option First chose to take up. Likewise the on board media streaming is something First chose to include in their bid, not something they were required to include and brand new Intercity trains prior to full electrification is again something First chose to include.
 

GrimsbyPacer

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Why not have a Northern Powerhouse parliament on a similar setup to the Scottish Parliament?
That would ensure the projects are better planned than the current Whitehall offices that run the whole thing.
 

Senex

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Why not have a Northern Powerhouse parliament on a similar setup to the Scottish Parliament?
That would ensure the projects are better planned than the current Whitehall offices that run the whole thing.
What an excellent idea! But wait! A parliament for Northumbria & North Mercia looks a bit too much like proper devolution to parts of England and that really would strike at self-satisfied, self-preening Westminster, wouldn't it?
 

aformeruser

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would that be the kind of devolution we voted against?

The North East (the smallest political region in the North) voted against it. It was never put to vote in Yorkshire & Humber or the North West (both of which have populations higher than Scotland.)
 

Senex

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The North East (the smallest political region in the North) voted against it. It was never put to vote in Yorkshire & Humber or the North West (both of which have populations higher than Scotland.)
And it wasn't a full-scale devolution like that to Scotland but rather just the introduction of another layer of politicians to talk about things but with no serious financial powers to do things. North-East voters saw through the Labour ploy to palm an English region off with something very inferior and duly voted it down. (I suppose you could argue, as with the electoral system referendum, that a crumb of cake is better than no cake at all, but I think the voters in the North East took the right decision.)
 

Mojo

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And it wasn't a full-scale devolution like that to Scotland but rather just the introduction of another layer of politicians to talk about things but with no serious financial powers to do things. North-East voters saw through the Labour ploy to palm an English region off with something very inferior and duly voted it down. (I suppose you could argue, as with the electoral system referendum, that a crumb of cake is better than no cake at all, but I think the voters in the North East took the right decision.)
However we still ended up with the Assemblies, that were totally unelected, held meetings at often very inconvenient locations and times and only allowed the public to sit in and watch and make statements for limited sections. These Assemblies were also much bigger than what was proposed to be for election; whilst if they had gone ahead Assemblies would have been formed of between 25-35 elected AMs, the majority of the now-abolished Assemblies had over 100 members each.
 

Tetchytyke

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I suppose you could argue, as with the electoral system referendum, that a crumb of cake is better than no cake at all, but I think the voters in the North East took the right decision.

North East voters were idiots for voting it down. They voted it down because they didn't want "more politicians". But much of what was proposed actually came in anyway, and was always going to come in, it's just that it became the QUANGO One North East. So we got the politicians anyway, the economic plan for the region needed them, we just didn't get to elect them, which is what anyone with half a brain cell said would happen. And One North East were very successful for the region until the Tories shut them down.

But as we've seen recently, there are a lot of people in Sunderland who don't have half a brain cell.
 
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DarloRich

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The North East (the smallest political region in the North) voted against it.


but clearly the best part. We voted against it because it was rubbish.

The North (Western) ern Power House does nothing to help the North East or much of Yorkshire. It is focused on Manchester and areas close to Gideon.

It does little to tackle the real social and economic issues in the north and especially those in the North East and nor do the few crumbs thrown out to dirty northern councils account for the cuts the government has already imposed. It is a con. It is shameful because it could be so much more.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
North East voters were idiots for voting it down. They voted it down because they didn't want "more politicians". But much of what was proposed actually came in anyway, and was always going to come in, it's just that it became the QUANGO One North East. So we got the politicians anyway, the economic plan for the region needed them, we just didn't get to elect them, which is what anyone with half a brain cell said would happen. And One North East were very successful for the region until the Tories shut them down.

But as we've seen recently, there are a lot of people in Sunderland who don't have half a brain cell.

The system proposed was silly and lacked any real power or ability to change things.

The most stupid change was the removal of the regional development agencies. They were much better than the QUANGO. The idea that poor regions should "compete" for government financial support is bonkers and typically Tory.
 

aformeruser

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The North (Western) ern Power House does nothing to help the North East or much of Yorkshire. It is focused on Manchester and areas close to Gideon.

The growth areas identified are:
  • Humber
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Greater Manchester
  • North East
  • Leeds City Region
  • Sheffield City Region

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...ile/427339/the-northern-powerhouse-tagged.pdf

Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and North Yorkshire are the counties which have been omitted - mostly North West counties.

As has been pointed out in the local newspapers in Cheshire on numerous occasions Gideon's proposed a lot of investment for Manchester Airport and Airport City but all the improved transport links to the Airport are for people arriving at the airport from Greater Manchester or outside the region (like reinstating a Newcastle to Airport train or introducing a new one to Bradford) so people from Cheshire, Derbyshire, North Wales, the Wirral etc. don't see the benefits.
 
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Tetchytyke

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The system proposed was silly and lacked any real power or ability to change things.

But it was a start, and much of what was proposed came in anyway. We just can't elect it.

The most stupid change was the removal of the regional development agencies. They were much better than the QUANGO.

One North East was the regional development agency. It was what was brought in when people decided they preferred their regional representatives to be unelected.

That said, given the gormlessness over on Wearside, they probably did a better job being unelected.
 

DarloRich

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The growth areas identified are:
  • Humber
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Greater Manchester
  • North East
  • Leeds City Region
  • Sheffield City Region

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...ile/427339/the-northern-powerhouse-tagged.pdf

Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and North Yorkshire are the counties which have been omitted - mostly North West counties.

As has been pointed out in the local newspapers in Cheshire on numerous occasions Gideon's proposed a lot of investment for Manchester Airport and Airport City but all the improved transport links to the Airport are for people arriving at the airport from Greater Manchester or outside the region (like reinstating a Newcastle to Airport train or introducing a new one to Bradford) so people from Cheshire, Derbyshire, North Wales, the Wirral etc. don't see the benefits.

The North East wont benefit. The cash offered is LESS than that the government have already taken away with more cuts to come
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
But it was a start, and much of what was proposed came in anyway. We just can't elect it.

A start perhaps but not a step chnage

One North East was the regional development agency. It was what was brought in when people decided they preferred their regional representatives to be unelected.

That said, given the gormlessness over on Wearside, they probably did a better job being unelected.

Apologies - I meant the DC's ( Development Companies)
 

aformeruser

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The North East wont benefit. The cash offered is LESS than that the government have already taken away with more cuts to come

All regions have seen cuts and is precisely why the report mentioned in the original article calls the Powerhouse 'Smoke and Mirrors.' It's not just the North East that has seen cuts. At least the North East is getting something back - other areas have had cuts and haven't been promised any investment.

There's also £426m from the EU regional development fund allocated for the North East: http://nelep.co.uk/funding/european-funding/ but it seems the North East, like Cornwall and Wales doesn't want the EU even though it benefits more from it than other areas: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/revealed-how-much-eu-funding-7789224
 
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aformeruser

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Labour MP Jude Kirton-Darling writing for the Huffington Post:

This might be the week that the Northern Powerhouse died.

As the news is dominated by internal conflict within the Conservative Party, one thing becomes clear: no leadership candidate to be our next Prime Minister will be a champion of the North East of England. Indeed, we have barely even had lip service paid to the region, except for another commitment that the Northern Powerhouse will continue. Now, more than ever before, we need concrete definition, not vague promises. This is a region built on coal and steel: we know that you need strong foundations to ground the industries of the future.

The people have voted in the EU referendum and I respect their decision. They have not made the decision that I hoped for, but it is a decision I accept and will work my hardest to get the people of the North East the best deal possible in our exit negotiations from the European Union. The North East has, thus far, been highly dependent on EU money, and was due to receive £726million in EU funds over the next five years. Whoever our next Prime Minister is, they need to replace this money for the region, and possibly even increase it. People in my constituency are already facing uncertainty over our status in the Single Market, and as the North East is highly dependent on exports, we will soon need answers on this, too.

I will continue to represent my constituents throughout all of this process. I will make sure their voices are heard within the European Parliament on a whole range of issues, including defending their rights at work, continuing to fight to bring jobs connected to the North Sea Grid, a collaboration between EU member-states and Norway to create an integrated offshore energy grid which links wind farms and other renewable energy sources across the northern seas of Europe, to this region, and trying to get the best deal possible for the UK in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. I invite my constituents to let me know their concerns about and their hopes for an exit, and what they think the most important elements of a plan for Brexit for the North East should involve.

This will be a long process, and I am committed and focused to representing my region through this difficult time.

We will not accept a Tory Brexit. It is vitally important that this is not a negotiation carried out by a small grouping within the Conservative Party, and which deliberately ignores northern voices. We need cross-party consensus and a plan, a real plan, which has contingencies and projections and guarantees. We are living in a time of great upheaval and great change, and what the people who voted in this referendum deserve is change which is for the better and not for the worse, and that is what I will spend the rest of my time in the European Parliament fighting for.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jud...ern-powerhouse_b_10813028.html?utm_hp_ref=uk&
 
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