Boris Johnson reaffirms Northern Powerhouse pledge

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Prime minister Boris Johnson will reaffirm his pledge to give more powers to people, businesses and political leaders across Northern regions

In a speech in South Yorkshire, Johnson is expected to reiterate his commitment to delivering the Sheffield City Region Deal – and to open up negotiations with Leeds and West Yorkshire.

The government will also create a new Northern Powerhouse growth body to drive forward the region’s economy.

A chair will be appointed to head up the body, working closely with the minister for the Northern Powerhouse.

Speaking to local business leaders, mayors and councillors, Johnson is expected to say: “It is time that we gave more people a say over the places where they live, and it is time that we gave you the proper ability to run things your way.

“We are going to maximise the power of the north. And we are going to make sure that it is people here who are in control over the things that matter to them.”

Johnson will reaffirm that one of his top domestic priorities will be to give more powers to local leaders to ensure communities are in control over the things that matter to them, such as transport, infrastructure and housing.

He will conclude his speech by saying: “If we succeed in levelling up opportunity across our country, and if we truly put the power in your hands, then I believe you will do for the North – and for our whole country – what the railways did two centuries ago.

“That is the true potential of this Northern Powerhouse Partnership. And this is a Government that will back you to deliver it.”

Responding to the speech, Matthew Fell CBI chief UK policy director, said: “Firms will warmly welcome the ambition of the Prime Minister’s speech and the determination to unlock the vast economic power of The North.

“Committing to HS2 in full is a key part of ensuring investment flows into all corners of Northern England, enabling firms to grow, create jobs and boost productivity.

“The devil will be in the detail from the Government, but business is totally committed to working with it to deliver economic prosperity, and the benefits of further devolution, for all.

“Firms are keen to see a devolution framework from the Government, which ensures the majority of people are covered by a devolution deal in the next five years.”

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