Johnny Marr says George Osborne should stop 'patronising' northerners with 'thick' slogans

The former Smiths guitarist says the Tory leadership doesn't understand the North

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The Independent Online

George Osborne’s insistence on referring to devolution to Greater Manchester as a “northern powerhouse” is patronising to people who actually live in the North, Johnny Marr has said.

The former Smiths guitarist described the Chancellor’s slogan as “thick” and suggested that the Conservative leadership was detached from what people in the North actually thought.

“Do Cameron and Osborne actually think that people in the north are OK with the term ‘Northern Powerhouse?’,” he tweeted.  “Patronising and thick or what?”

Mr Marr, who is from Manchester, has a history of stirring up political controversy. In 2010 he raised smiles with his response to David Cameron after the PM claimed to be a fan of The Smiths.

“David Cameron, stop saying that you like The Smiths, no you don't,” the guitarist tweeted at the time. “I forbid you to like it.”

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Osborne explains why we shouldn't reduce the deficit faster (BBC)

The Government wants to devolve power to a Greater Manchester combined authority and says it will invest in transport links across the North.

There are also less advanced plans to give powers to other cities and regions including Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, and – much further south – Cornwall.

But the shelving of rail upgrade projects in the region last week led to Labour’s acting leader Harriet Harman branding the scheme a “Northern powercut”.

“You can't build a productive economy on a political slogan,” Ms Harman told Osborne during an exchange in the House of Commons, arguing that his “great northern powerhouse is starting to look like the great northern powercut”.

In Wedensday’s Budget Mr Osborne announced that the Government had reached an agreement with leaders of the 10 councils of Greater Manchester to devolve more powers.

The plans include putting fire services under the control of the city, establishing a land commission, and increasing collaboration on children’s services and employment schemes.

He also announced £30m funding for a recently established Transport for The North agency.

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