Press release

Nick Clegg steps up campaign for northern powers

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Deputy Prime Minister launched a new phase of his Northern Futures campaign today, as he held a major Cabinet Committee meeting in Stockport.

Nick Clegg convened a meeting of the Local Growth Committee at MAN Diesel in Stockport today. The Committee will discuss what central government can do to speed up growth in the north and how further powers can be devolved from Whitehall to give local people more say over how to achieve this goal.

This is the first time the Local Growth Committee will meet in the North since it was formed in June 2013. A number of ministers will be attending the meeting, including the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey.

The Deputy Prime Minister wants to rapidly accelerate the pace of growth in the north, which is why he launched a project called Northern Futures to ask people – experts and non-experts alike - for their most radical and transformative ideas.

Have your say, add your idea or find out what others have suggested at Northern Futures.

The Deputy Prime Minister visited Stockport-based Adidas this morning to talk to staff about the Northern Futures project. Local leaders, experts, and businesses also joined the debate to tell the Deputy Prime Minister how they want to see the north developing in the future.

As part of the day, ministers also announced £6.4 million of funding for north-west firms through the Regional Growth Fund, creating 252 high-skilled jobs in our life sciences sector.

The Deputy Prime Minister will also sign the £476.7 million Greater Manchester Growth Deal, which will help to create up to 5,000 jobs, allow more than 75,000 homes to be built and generate up to £80 million of additional in public and private investment in Greater Manchester.

Lasting change for the North

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, said:

Whilst some people are only just waking up to the idea of more power for the north, this is something I’ve been doing for years. For example, the Regional Growth Fund in the north-west will see almost £3 billion invested in local companies, three City Deals have been signed, and almost £500 million awarded to Greater Manchester in their Local Growth Deal.

But I want to be even more radical. I want real and lasting change for the north. What will that look like? That’s what I’m asking people here today.

Watch a message from the Deputy Prime Minister on Northern Futures

Nick Clegg on Northern Futures

Regional Growth Fund

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, who attended the Local Growth Committee today, also opened the new Molplex laboratories at Alderley Park made possible through a £1.2 million Regional Growth Fund (RGF) Round 4 grant. He also announced a further £5.2 million worth of funding from RGF Round 5 to support 2 further projects by Redx Pharma and Absynth Biologics, also at Alderley Park. The 3 companies bring 252 new jobs to the Cheshire area.

Rounds 1 to 5 of the Regional Growth Fund in the North West will invest £460 million in 84 projects and programmes, leveraging £2.5 billion of private sector investment. Round 6, which closed recently, saw another 40 bids totalling £149 million from the north-west. Successful bidders will be announced in the new year.

Find out more about the Regional Growth Fund.

Open Ideas Days

Meanwhile, ‘Open Ideas Days’ for the Northern Futures campaign were held in 8 northern cities (Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle, York, Hull, Lancaster) by representatives of the Deputy Prime Minister’s office. The sessions are bringing experts and non-experts from the local area together to contribute to the Northern Futures debate. They will discuss how we build on the strengths of the north to create an economic core to compete with the biggest cities in the world.