‘Too many skills and resources are sucked down to London’

The Times 24 August 2015

It was a gift for the cynics. This year George Osborne renamed a train Northern Powerhouse as a symbol of the project he has undertaken to devolve powers to the northern cities, drive investment there and rebalance Britain’s economy away from London and the southeast.

Unfortunately, the train broke down three times in four months. James Wharton, minister for the Northern Powerhouse, said: “Obviously, you don’t want any train to break down. It’s the sort of thing journalists like to make a story out of but actually it has little impact on the important project that we are delivering.”

This is the chancellor’s pet project, bringing two of his key objectives into alignment: economic growth and political ambition. If northern cities were to …

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