North West Business Leadership Team
The Chancellor, George Osborne, recently spelled out the case for a `Northern Powerhouse’ to compete internationally in the way that London does.
In terms of rebalancing the UK economy towards the North, it makes sense for the great cities of the North – particularly Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds – to combine their formidable assets and enable them to punch their weight in an increasingly globalised market.
The right conditions need to be created to convince people to stay, work and live, and keep their talent in the region.
It is essential, therefore, that these cities are better connected. This means ensuring that Liverpool is on the proposed HS2 line from London, and the starting point for a future West/East HS3. Liverpool and Manchester epitomise the synergies that exist in the North West – they have complementary strengths, so literally the sum is greater than the parts.
Liverpool and Manchester’s links go back to 1830 and the creation of world’s first intercity railway. Today, over 2 million passengers every year commute between these two cities, despite an average time of over an hour for a journey of just 31 miles. The goal should be for a fast, frequent service taking 20 minutes or less.
The Chancellor frequently referenced Liverpool in his `Northern Powerhouse’ speech and the reasons are self-evident. High quality graduates from our universities, an internationally recognised life sciences cluster and a port which is being readied to handle the next generation of container carriers, are just some of our assets.
Better, faster connections across the North will allow us all to work better together and thus compete more effectively in global markets.