16 Mar 2016

Leading Northern cities and government in joint powerhouse pledge


The five northern English core cities have signed a joint commitment with government to work collaboratively to ensure the full potential of a Northern Powerhouse is realised.

The leaders of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield have pledged to work together with the government to deliver the vision of a North of England which can help rebalance the nation's economy - becoming more than the sum of its parts through joint working and closer connections.

The joint statement recognises that the vision can only be achieved through sustained long-term investment in people, places and infrastructure.

While devolution and improved transport links between the great northern cities are key parts of the Northern Powerhouse, the signatories of the statement also commit to working together to ensure the skills, housing and enterprise development base to support growth.

This applies particularly to the four sectors identified in an Independent Economic Review commissioned by

northern leaders as pan-Northern strengths: advanced manufacturing, energy, health innovation and digital.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "Closer links will enable the great northern cities to compete not against each other but together at scale on a national and international stage. We need to redress a legacy of underinvestment in the North and capitalise on our existing strengths. Through sustained focus on this agenda we can unlock more jobs and increased prosperity. That is the prize. It won't happen overnight but we are all determined to deliver it."

Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “By working together to promote better transport links and closer connections we can help drive much needed economic growth, which will create vital jobs for the cities of the North. Core cites and councils are undoubtedly best placed to make the big decisions around economic growth for their local communities, but hand in hand with that is the urgent need to address the continued imbalance in Government funding for key infrastructure such as transport and flood defences. Only once that imbalance is addressed can the rhetoric of the Northern Powerhouse match up to reality and enable the North to meet its true economic potential.”

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: “Liverpool City Region is the gateway of the Northern Powerhouse. The Northern Powerhouse programme gives Liverpool City Region the opportunity to secure the investment in the East/West rail and road links that we have lacked for so many years. This investment is crucial to achieving the economic growth we are aiming for in order to fully exploit the assets of the City Region nationally and globally - such as the Superport- as well as stimulating more jobs and more business opportunities for our residents and our companies.”

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said: "City leaders across the north are determined to create a stronger economy shaped by the values of those who live and work here. But we know that the Chancellor’s Northern Powerhouse will only succeed if our cities are handed the powers, and funds, to create more and better jobs. The north is leading the way in a new era of life sciences, offshore engineering, automotive technologies and advanced manufacturing, and now more than ever is the time to hand to over the powers needed to back those industries locally. We know that will involve working together on major issues, as well as with cities and leaders from across the north as we seek to ensure this vision becomes a reality.”

Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “We need to unlock the talent of our young people, and focus on the things that matter to real people, including more and better jobs for the next generation of our workforce. By taking control of our own skills agenda and working with local employers to design training, we can make sure we’re getting young people the skills they need to get into the jobs that will be created in our local economy.

”The full text of the joint statement is below.

Note to Editors

The Core Cities is the group consisting of the major British cities outside London.




Building the Northern Powerhouse is crucial to rebalancing the national economy. This agenda is based on the sound economic theory that through working together and better connecting its cities, the north can be more than the sum of its parts. By 2030, the Northern Powerhouse could provide 250,000 more jobs and £37 billion additional GVA to the national economy.

Following the initial wave of devolution deals, we are now moving into Phase 2 of the Northern Powerhouse. Devolution will continue throughout this parliament. But we also need to focus on how powers are used, as well as where they sit. We are therefore committing here to work together to consider how we can use our shared powers collaboratively to deliver our vision for the Northern Powerhouse. We will work with every part of the north to meet our shared objectives. We want to ensure that we release the talents of our workforce and support renewed aspiration and opportunities for our young people. We will build on the strong progress made through the development of the Northern Transport Strategy over the past eighteen months, and will expand our focus to look in particular at skills and employment, trade and investment, enterprise and innovation, and housing.

The full potential of the Northern Powerhouse can only be unlocked through long term sustained investment in people, places and infrastructure. Over the past 18 months, we have made good progress on ensuring that cities have the powers they need to fulfil this potential. This process is not complete: the government remains committed to devolving powers throughout this Parliament.

And we have also taken strong steps towards improving connectivity across the Northern Powerhouse. This has included the establishment of Transport for the North, the development of the Northern Transport Strategy, and most recently the National Infrastructure Commission’s study on the future transport investment priorities for the North.

Following the initial wave of devolution deals, we are moving into Phase 2 of the Northern Powerhouse agenda. We now need to expand our focus to consider not just what powers places have, but also how these powers are used. In particular, we need to ensure that the powers that sit at national and local level are used in a coherent, collaborative way. It is only through working together that we can achieve our shared vision for the Northern Powerhouse.

So we set out here our commitment to do just this. We will work together across the whole of the North over the coming months to look at what more we can do to tackle key challenges across a number of specific policy areas.

This work will build on the Independent Economic Review commissioned by the northern leaders. This has taken a rigorous and independent look at the factors driving the north’s economic performance and the industries and sectoral strengths that could lead the economic growth of the north over the next 30 years. It has shown that there are four prime pan-Northern ‘capabilities’ with global significance: advanced manufacturing, energy, health innovation, and digital.

Critically, this work has shown that although enhancing connectivity is a crucial element of delivering the Northern Powerhouse, it is not sufficient on it is own. We need to foster greater levels of innovation and entrepreneurship; develop, attract and retain highly skilled workers; promote international trade and investment; and ensure the Northern Powerhouse has sufficient housing capacity to meet the needs of a growing population. Over the coming months, we will work together to develop joint proposals responding to each of these challenges:

  • Skills and employment: devolution of adult skills budgets will enable the north’s city regions to take a lead in ensuring that skills match the needs of the local economy. We will work, alongside business, to consider how we ensure that in high value pan-northern sectors we have the right skills available to support growth, create the right pathways to those sectors and attract and retain talent.
  • , innovation and industrial strategy: devolution deals have given city regions the funding and flexibility they need to invest in infrastructure and economic development. Science and Innovation Audits will support areas to identify their key research and innovation strengths. And the £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will unlock significant new investment in local SMEs to support enterprise in the region. We will now work together to consider how we can use our respective powers and responsibilities to facilitate the development of clusters of high productivity, knowledge intensive industries, and build on the North’s existing research strengths. We will identify the private sector led investment and growth projects of significance across the north, and identify what we can do to support them.
  • Trade and investment: we will work together to develop a collaborative approach to promoting the Northern Powerhouse to foreign investors, and to helping Northern exporters access foreign markets.
  • Housing: we will work together to ensure that housing supports the growth ambitions of the Northern Powerhouse, recognising the role of local housing markets and the powers that exist at local authority, city region and LEP level.


Lord O’Neill of Gatley – Commercial Secretary to the Treasury

James Wharton – Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse

Sir Richard Leese – Leader, Manchester City Council

Judith Blake – Leader, Leeds City Council

Julie Dore – Leader, Sheffield City Council

Joe Anderson – Leader, Liverpool City Council

Nick Forbes – Leader, Newcastle City Council

Contact information

Leeds City Council Communications team