Minister says ‘calm down, calm down’ over funding fears

The Government’s Northern Powerhouse minister has urged the Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson to ‘calm down, calm down’ over transport funding fears.

Speaking yesterday in Parliament, Jake Berry was quizzed by Labour’s shadow local government minister Jim McMahon over Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson’s decision to quit the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

The Liverpool mayor announced he was leaving the partnership because he claimed the Government refused to listen to it and other regional bodies such as Transport for the North.

‘There are several bodies in the north, such as the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and Transport for the North, providing Government with this evidence but I no longer see the point of being a part of these bodies set up by a Government which isn’t prepared to listen to them,” Mr Anderson told the BBC.

Mr McMahon also quoted recent research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North think tank, which claims north gets £2,500 less per head in investment on transport than London.

A report recently published by IPPR North warned the original vision for the Northern Powerhouse was too narrow and almost exclusively focused on increasing productivity, and on transport and major city regions.

‘As Harry Enfield and his chums would say about anyone from Liverpool, including me – “calm down, calm down”,’ replied the Northern Powerhouse minister. ‘I can confirm today we have announced £38.4 million for Liverpool.’

Mr Berry also completely refuted the IPPR figures.

‘If the hon. Gentleman wants to give some advice to his chums in the left-wing IPPR think-tank, he might say that next time they produce such figures they should print them on softer paper.’

The minister was also quizzed on the Government’s planned for a UK shared prosperity fund, which is due replace EU regeneration funds after Brexit, by the St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double.

‘With only 109 shopping days to Brexit, I can reassure my hon. Friend that the UK shared prosperity fund will be simplified and targeted, and will tackle the challenges of our whole country, including those facing Cornwall,’ replied Mr Berry.

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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