The North controlling its own destiny

Back The North controlling its own destiny

Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council and Chair of the Government Property Agency (GPA) spoke to PSE about the work being done within the Northern Powerhouse and the three things she would do if she were the NPH Minister.

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There can be a tendency to think the Northern Powerhouse is all about Leeds, Manchester and the M62 corridor but what we’ve worked hard to do in Newcastle, is be part of discussions

. We want to make a strong case for connectivity and transport links to Manchester and Leeds, they’re just as important as links to London.

We’ve been able to demonstrate the strong links around sectors, showcasing the strengths in our universities and influencing those plans

. It has also helped us to do the devolution deal in Newcastle and North of Tyne, it’s all about the North controlling its own destiny.

The Combined Authority has enabled us to develop a devolution deal that invests in people, skills and sectors, that will drive the economy in the North East and Newcastle.

For me, the strategy can only be delivered through a strong focus on devolution in cities and regions, and the deals so far are good but we want to go much further. We want greater control over education and skills, the devolution of transport decisions across the North, housing and other budgets.

One of the stated aims of Government Property Agency is to look at ways the government invests in property, hubs and locations for civil servants outside of London.

Investment and government departments moving in to the North can act as anchors or economies in northern cities and towns.

Part of my role is to support the creation of great venues and spaces that adds to the economy and the social value in places.

If I was the Northern Powerhouse Minister, I would do three things…

I would involve northern councils, businesses and other partners more in shaping their own strategies for Northern Powerhouse.

Secondly, I would seriously invest in a big devolved push on skills and education.

The last thing I would work hard to do is make sure that people in the North understand the serious commitment of government and win the hearts and minds of people and get a whole range of people behind the Northern Powerhouse strategy. 

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