Northern Powerhouse group launched

MPs from all parties have launched a group to ‘drive business, skills and economic growth’ in the north of England.

The Northern Powerhouse parliamentary group aims to attract investment and highlight issues affecting the region.

It was set up by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, a body chaired by former chancellor George Osborne in 2014.

It comes after Manchester mayor Andy Turnham said the country was still ‘too London-centric’.

The Northern Powerhouse was a concept that attempted to ‘rebalance’ the UK’s economy away from being dominated by London and the South East.

John Stevenson, Conservative MP for Carlisle - who chairs the new group - said it aimed to ‘increase investment in and awareness of the North as a place that drives business, skills and economic growth’.

Steve Rotheram, the Labour mayor of Liverpool city region, said it was ‘vitally important’ that the widest possible coalition was built in support of ‘economic rebalancing’ and that the case for the Northern Powerhouse was advocated in the north and ‘at the centre of national political decision-making’.

But responding to the Budget on BBC One's Sunday Politics, Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, said he wanted to see ‘a more wholehearted embrace of devolution" from both the Conservatives and Labour’.

Burnham said: ”We are too London-centric. Brexit is looming. We need investment in the regions. I don't think we can bring all of this power back from Brussels and keep it in Westminster."