Autumn Statement: George Osborne outlines plan 'to build the Northern powerhouse'

Osborne announced a new sovereign wealth fund for the north — for investment in science, transport and culture

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Indy Politics

George Osborne has announced the government is ready to deliver on its promise of a 'Northern powerhouse', investing in cities in the north of England by way of a new sovereign wealth fund.

In his Autumn statement speech, Osborne said that fund will be backed by revenue from the shale gas sector the coalition is establishing so that the "resources of the North are used to invest in the future of the North".

Billions of pounds will be spent on road and rail improvements across the north of England, including the High Speed 3 and new franchises for Northern Rail and the Trans-Pennine Express.

The Chancellor also pledged to invest in science initiatives in the north, namely a quarter of a billion pounds for a new Sir Henry Royce Institute for advanced material science to be based in Manchester, with branches in Leeds, Liverpool, and Sheffield.

He said Manchester would see fresh cultural investment, the centrepiece of which would be a new major theatre space to be called 'The Factory Manchester'.

He said: "For one of the great challenges of this country is to create a more balanced national economy – a challenge that has eluded governments for generations.

"Our ambition is to build a northern powerhouse as a complement to the strength of our capital city, where we bring together our great cities of the North."

And, after outlining the north's regeneration spending plan, Osborne said: "Today I can deliver."

He also commended Manchester local authorities for coming together to create a new directly elected Mayor.

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