Press release

PM and Chinese President's visit to the Northern Powerhouse unlocks investment

David Cameron announces that the north of England will forge new partnerships with China and unlock the potential of the Northern Powerhouse.

  • a new air route will open up links between the north of England and the far east
  • Chinese construction group announces multi-million investment in regeneration

The north of England will forge new partnerships with China and unlock the potential of the Northern Powerhouse, the Prime Minister will announce today. The announcement comes as the Prime Minister and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, embark upon a tour of Manchester, as part of the China State Visit.

The Prime Minister said:

We are committed to rebalancing our economy and building a Northern Powerhouse. China is a key trading partner for the UK and the partnerships being made today will see real investment going into the north. This is all part of this government’s plan to attract more investment and deliver economic growth to an area of huge potential.

Partnerships set to be agreed include:

  • Hainan Airlines announcing the first direct flights from Manchester Airport to China – the first outside London. The deal is estimated to provide a £50 million boost to the Manchester economy and open up links from China into the Northern Powerhouse.
  • Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG) being appointed as main contractor for the Middlewood Locks regeneration project in Manchester.
  • As announced on the Chancellor’s visit to China last month, Hualing Group is signing an agreement with UK real estate company Scarborough Group International to invest in 3 major regeneration projects in the north: Middlewood Locks in Manchester, Thorpe Park in Leeds and Sheffield Digital Campus.
  • The University of Central Lancashire establishing a joint innovation and entrepreneurship competition with the Shenzhen government in south eastern China
  • Uppingham School in Rutland setting up 5 schools in China in a partnership with Hainan Airline and Tourism Group.
  • Hong Kong based company Netdragon Websoft finalising the acquisition of the educational supplies company Promethean World Plc, based in Blackburn, for £84.8 million, securing 671 jobs.

On their tour of Manchester, the Prime Minister and President will visit Manchester City Football academy. Here, they will see a training match taking place and meet with players – past and present from Manchester City and Manchester United – including Gary Neville, Patrick Vieira, Denis Law and Mike Summerbee.

Taking a tour of the National Football Museum, they will see a number of Chinese and British artefacts including the 1930 World Cup ball and a 7-panel football – a gift from the China Football Museum which pre-dates 1914. They will also witness Chinese football player Sun Jihai being inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame.

The Prime Minister and President will then attend a lunch at Manchester Town Hall, alongside more than 200 businesses, civic leaders and community representatives from across the north of England and China, providing an opportunity for the Northern Powerhouse to strengthen links with China.

On their last stop, the leaders are visiting Manchester Airport as Hainan Airlines announce their new route. Here, they will see an exhibition for Airport City Manchester and meet with the Airport’s Chief Executive to discuss the plans for this new initiative.

Published 23 October 2015