The part of Britain whose best days lie aheadby Caroline Flint / August 17, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
The north is known for industry, but we are equally proud of its cultural heritage: the Brontës, Lowry and the Beatles. Our sporting heritage is equally rich. A worldwide fan-base follows the north’s Premier League football teams; Rugby league was born in Huddersfield; and the Great North Run remains the world’s most friendly half-marathon.
But the UK economy is over-dependent on London—the north has lagged behind for too long. Four years ago, the Northern Powerhouse brought together a collection of northern cities close enough to work together and put aside regional rivalries. If the north can raise its game, it will be good for UK plc—but to achieve new jobs, growth and investment, we need some big changes.
Take transport. Northern commuters and families have faced weeks of rail chaos. Over one million working hours were lost, and train operators warned that the disruption could last until November. But until the north’s railways improve—frequency, capacity and journey times—increased productivity will be out of reach.
The MPs of the Northern Powerhouse All-Party Parliamentary Group will be lobbying government for further rail devolution. Transport for the North was established for this role. Now it needs real powers.
And in the longer-term, we need Northern Powerhouse Rail connecting our urban centres to a high-speed rail network, beginning with a fast Hull-Manchester-Liverpool line, which could be up and running before HS2.