Businesses and politicians in the North are calling for new tax-raising powers for the region's local authorities and for the rail network to be transferred to Transport for the North (TfN).
Building the Northern Powerhouse: Next Steps for Transformation, a business-led action plan, will be launched in Parliament today by privately funded lobby group UK Northern Powerhouse (UKNP).
The Town Hall in Leeds
According to UKNP, the report ‘urges the Government to consider 'bolder reform to turn the Northern Powerhouse rhetoric in to reality'.
The report contains 10 recommendations that UKNP said are required to deliver the growth needed to rejuvenate the region and rebalance the UK economy in the face of a global economic slowdown.
- new tax-raising powers for northern authorities to invest and upgrade regional infrastructure and boost local economies
- responsibility for the northern rail network to be transferred to TfN
- a dedicated Northern Powerhouse Institutional Investment Fund which could create innovative products such as City Bonds to drive forward investment from the markets
Jason McCartney, chair of the all-party group of northern backbench MPs, said: ‘it is great to see this private sector initiative responding to the chancellor's plan to promote wealth creation across the North. Rebalancing the UK economy in the face of challenging global market conditions will play a key part in underwriting the nation's future prosperity.’
UKNP said transferring the region’s rail network to TfN will ‘ensure investment in the regional rail infrastructure remains a top priority for public investment in order to address the problems of capacity due to half-of a century of under investment’.
It said copies of its plan will be shared with ministers and MPs including chancellor George Osborne, the key architect of the Northern Powerhouse.