I had not yet found myself a group to work with but decided to take a closer look at what it was the project was based on so that I had a better understanding.

'We need a Northern powerhouse'

George Osborne

"...Something remarkable has happened to London over these recent decades. It has become a global capital, the home of international finance, attracting the young, the ambitious, the wealthy and the entrepreneurial from around the world in their tens of thousands. And it’s a great strength for our country that it contains such a global city.
But something remarkable has happened here in Manchester, and in Liverpool and Leeds and Newcastle and other northern cities over these last thirty years too. The once hollowed-out city centres are thriving again, with growing universities, iconic museums and cultural events, and huge improvements to the quality of life.
Which part of England has the fastest-growing economic activity right now? The North-East. 
Where are people joining the labour market at the fastest rate? The North-West and North-East.
Where is construction strongest? Yorkshire and Humberside.
We’ve seen massive investments all over the north. Hitachi, Nissan and Rolls Royce in the North East. The Airport City in Manchester. The new deep water port in Liverpool. Siemens in Hull and East Yorkshire. 
And I’ll speak on other occasions of the huge opportunities for Birmingham and the Midlands.
The powerhouse of London dominates more and more. And that’s not healthy for our economy. It’s not good for our country. We need a Northern Powerhouse too.
Not one city, but a collection of northern cities - sufficiently close to each other that combined they can take on the world. Able to provide jobs and opportunities and security to the many, many people who live here, and for whom this is all about. We need to bring the cities of the north together as a team – that’s how Britain will beat the rest.
A great global city has many things. Great jobs and businesses. Fast and effective transport connections. Strong universities and hospitals, colleges and schools for aspirational families. It will have the entertainment, the green spaces, the housing, culture and sport that makes for a good lifestyle. These cities, in a belt that runs from Liverpool to Hull all have strengths individually – but on a global scale they are also quite small. Manchester’s population is 2.6 million. Leeds’ and West Yorkshire’s is 1.8 million. But together our northern cities can be more than the sum of their parts.
The last census found that the average commute of someone who travels into London from outside is 40 miles. If you make a circle of the same distance, and centre it here on Manchester, you’d have a catchment area that takes in Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool, Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire, and contains ten million people – more than Tokyo, New York or London. An area containing nearly two million graduates. A huge pool of talent.
How do we build the Northern Powerhouse?
By joining our northern cities together – not physically, or into some artificial political construct – but by providing the modern transport connections they need; by backing their science and universities; by backing their creative clusters; and giving them the local power and control that a powerhouse economy needs.
And those are the four ingredients that I want to address.
First, transport.
The oldest railway station in the world is here. This is the area that invented modern transport. And yet today the transport network in the north is simply not fit for purpose – and certainly not good enough, if we want our cities to pool their strengths.
- Manchester and Sheffield are just 38 miles apart - yet it takes over 1 hour 20 minutes to travel by car. In that time you can get from Southampton to Oxford, which is twice the distance 
- it’s quicker to travel the 283 miles from London to Paris by train than it is to travel less than half that distance between Liverpool and Hull
- bus trips in the capital are up a third over the last ten years, but down by 7% in the northern cities
Now I’m trying to fix this with a series of massive investments in the transport infrastructure in the north. I’ve committed £600 million to the Northern Hub, which will cut journey times on trains between Manchester, Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield. I want now to properly hook up Hull to our national network too. The huge roads investment programme we’ve just started on will see upgrades to the M62, M1, A1 in Newcastle and Gateshead, and a new Mersey Gateway Bridge – with more schemes to be announced later this year.
We’ve backed the port of Liverpool, reversed the crazy decisions that blocked cruise ships there, and I want to see the Atlantic Gateway go from being a brilliant concept to a transforming reality.
I’ve found resources to extend the Metrolink here. Like any global city, the commuter routes to the surrounding towns and villages are vital. And this winter we will tender for the whole new Northern rail franchise. We’ll want to see not just better services, and more seats at peak times, but also better journeys. So bidders for the franchise will be asked to include options to get rid of outdated ‘railbus’ or ‘pacer’ style trains. It’s time for modern rolling stock in the north.
Above all, we are building High Speed 2, which will connect 8 of the 10 largest cities in the UK, including Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. Phase 2 alone is a £21bn investment, and will support at least 60,000 jobs. It’s the most important investment in the north for a century.
Of course, there are opponents of the project – just as there were opponents of the original railways. I’ve discovered that almost everything worth doing in politics is controversial.
We are making it happen. The reality is that HS2 is a vital investment. It’s essential capacity and it will change the economic geography of the country. It will mean that London and Manchester are just an hour apart. We’ve done a lot – but we must do much more to connect our northern cities.
David Higgins is here with us. He’s chairman of HS2 and his recent report identified the need for better connections between the cities of the north, if we are going to make the most of better connections between north and south. I know the city leadership here in Manchester and in Leeds are working together to respond.
I am saying today: we need to think big. We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west - to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city. As well as fixing the roads, that means considering a new high speed rail link. Today I want us to start thinking about whether to build a new high speed rail connection east-west from Manchester to Leeds. Based on the existing rail route, but speeded up with new tunnels and infrastructure. A third high speed railway for Britain.
New high speed rail and motorway upgrades are huge projects that take time. But there are many improvements we can start now. In two weeks’ time we will announce the first allocation of £2 billion a year of funding from the Single Local Growth Fund. This was the brainchild of Michael Heseltine. And I can tell you today I want to make sure we don’t just commit this money year-to-year, but commit money over many years, to long term projects that drive local growth. That’s the long term approach that we are bringing to investment spending.
So step one in building the Northern Powerhouse is a radical transport plan so that travelling between cities feels like travelling within one big city.
The second thing that’s going to fuel that powerhouse is science and innovation.
Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York and more – the north is blessed with world class universities. These universities have been at the forefront of the urban renaissance here over the last three decades. Many of them were founded by enlightened industrialists – today they are still leading the way in cooperation between academics and industry. We want to see science here turned into products here - and into jobs and growth here. So I’ve ruthlessly prioritised science and innovation investment and made hard choices elsewhere to pay for it. Much of that investment is coming north.
The new Graphene centre is here in Manchester; The new headquarters for the Square Kilometre Array – the global project to build the world’s largest telescope – is at Joddrell Bank just south of here; We’re building one of the world’s largest and fastest supercomputers at Daresbury; The National Biologics Industrial Innovation Centre in Teeside will make it one of the best locations for life sciences. And the new Materials Innovation Factory at Liverpool University puts us at the cutting edge in manufacturing the materials of the future. And we’re determined to cure the British disease of inventing things but letting others get the commercial benefit from them, with our new Catapult technology centres. Like the High Value Manufacturing centres in Rotherham and Redcar. We’ve got two new centres coming in Energy Systems and Precision Medicine and I will be very disappointed if at least one of them doesn’t come to the north.
But that is just the start.
Because I have taken difficult decisions I’m able to increase science investment in every year this decade. That’s £7 billion for scientific investment in the next parliament alone. How this funding is allocated is up to the scientific community, rightly, according solely to rigorous criteria of scientific excellence.
We’re consulting now – and I will announce the outcome later in the year. We’ve got an incredible opportunity to change the landscape of British science.
I look at London and I see the largest research institute in Europe – the Crick Institute – being built. What’s the Crick of the north going to be? Materials science? Nuclear technology? Something else? You tell me. Today I call on the northern universities to rise to the challenge, and come up with radical, transformative long term ideas for doing even more outstanding science in the north – and we will back you.
So we have great transport and great science.
Global cities are also great places to go out.
The economist Richard Florida has talked about the way that great cities are competing for the “creative class” that powers economic growth. He’s shown how innovators and entrepreneurs are attracted to creative, cultural, beautiful places. Here we already have world-class arts and culture, from Opera North in Leeds to the Tate in Liverpool, to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and the new Hepworth over in Wakefield. And then there’s the music of the Halle and the Liverpool Philharmonic and of course the best pop music on the planet. And we can build on all that. I am introducing a new theatre tax credit this September and it’s designed to particularly help theatres outside the capital. I’ve seen proposals to upgrade the Lyric theatre in Manchester and make that the anchor of a creative enterprise zone – I think it’s a fascinating plan and I want to see what can be done to make it happen. The new Culture secretary Sajid Javid, born here in Rochdale, has talked about how we give more people outside London access to world class arts and culture. Not at the expense of our capital city’s great institutions but as a complement to them, and in partnership with them.
The BBC’s got a big role to play too.
As a local MP I was a strong promoter of the move to Salford a decade. I thought it would be good for Manchester and good for the BBC too. MediaCity is now the biggest digital hub in Europe outside London. We need it to be bigger still, drawing in creative and digital businesses. So the BBC need to make sure the move is really secure, that the important decisions don’t leech back to Broadcasting House in London. That requires an active effort.
The natural environment also matters hugely to quality of life. Our national parks are staggeringly beautiful here too. When the Tour de France comes to Yorkshire it will show them off to the world. We have fantastic Victorian parks in the hearts of our northern cities. We cleaned polluted rivers like the Mersey and the Humber. Now we should take the next steps in improving them and making them great places for leisure and tourism, and natural beauty.
The final thing you need in a Powerhouse is, of course – Power.
Global cities have powerful city governments. I think it’s great to see how local authorities here are getting much better at working together. Councils in this city and elsewhere have been coming together in combined authorities to solve issues that cut across their borders and jointly promote their cities. I see it myself in the cooperation between Manchester City and my own Cheshire East Authority, over the science park at Alderley – cooperation I never saw before. That’s vital. Otherwise we can’t make the most of our cities and the towns in between. The OECD, in a paper published this spring, showed that cities around the world with fragmented governance structures have lower levels of productivity than those that don’t. 6% lower. We’ve been backing you all the way. We’ve been devolving power through City Deals. We’ve signed 25 deals. They encapsulate two things about our approach. We don’t offer an identikit model, instead, we offer each area the different specific things it needs to get growth going. And instead of laissez faire we recognise that there’s a crucial role for local leaders to clear away the obstacles to growth and enterprise, and get things moving. A great example of that is the deal we’ve done with Joe Anderson in Liverpool.
Today I want to ask: is it now time to take the next steps? London has the advantage of a strong, recognisable city leader. The haircut that is recognised all over the world. Boris Johnson. There are big advantages in having an elected Mayor to represent your city. To fight your corner in the world. To have someone democratically accountable to the whole city who can deal with issues like transport or economic development or fighting crime. There’s no question that public transport in London has improved immeasurably since I took the bus and tube to school as a child, because you have had there a strong mayor who can integrate the roads and the busses and the rail and the tube and the river and the cycle lanes and so on.
In London, the traditional boroughs all still there, and still have the same powers. But the powers that were held by quangos and by the national government are now held by an elected local leader. At the moment you could argue there’s a mis-match between the economic importance of the great northern cities and their political clout.
Wales has its own parliament, and can pass its own laws. But as the Centre for Cities point out, the economies of Manchester and Leeds are each individually bigger than Wales. But they don’t have a single leader who can speak for the whole area.
I say it again
A true powerhouse requires true power. So today I am putting on the table and starting the conversation about serious devolution of powers and budgets for any city that wants to move to a new model of city government - and have an elected Mayor. A Mayor for Greater Manchester. A Mayor for Leeds. With powers similar to the Mayor of London.
What I’ve set out today is a vision of the Northern Powerhouse – not to rival the South, but to be its brother in arms as we fight for Britain’s share of the global economy. Let’s bring our Northern cities together, so they’re bigger and better than anyone can be alone.
The Northern Powerhouse can’t be built over-night. It’s a long-term plan for a country serious about its long-term economic future. It means jobs and prosperity and security for people here over future decades.
And I promise you this – I will work tirelessly with anyone across political divides in any of these great cities to make the Northern Powerhouse a reality."

I noted down the main things that stood out to me -

I then began to try gain a focused understanding of the North of England. 


Starting with Wikipedia... 

Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North or the North Country, is a cultural region of England. It is not an official government region, but a geographical concept.

Northern England includes three Euro constituencies: the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. These have a combined population of around 14.5 million and an area of 37,331 km2.
The north of England may also be considered as the area (from coast to coast) surrounding the Pennines, an upland chain often referred to as "the backbone of England". This stretches from the Cheviot Hills on the border with Scotland to the Peak District
The areas defined were formerly dominated by heavy industry and mineral extraction and processing. Combined with the characteristically wild, hilly landscape of the region, this has led to the popular belief, mainly by those from the south of England, of it being "grim up North".
It is an area of contrasting landscapes. There are several urban belts, many of which join to form one larger belt that runs from Liverpool to Leeds along the M62 corridor, then south to Sheffield along the M1 corridor. There are further agglomerations in the north-east and east of Preston. Around 11 million people live in the area covered by the Northern Way, most in its largest cities Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Bradford and Manchester.
The north might also be considered to include the three former Government Office Regions of North East England, North West England and Yorkshire and the Humber. This area consists of the ceremonial counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, County Durham, East Riding of Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Yorkshire and part of Lincolnshire. The regions also hold the North of England Inward Investment Agency which is a UK government sponsored agency that represents two Regional Development Agencies in north England: Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and One Northeast (ONE).

As the centre of the industrial revolution, northern England has long been characterised by its industrial centres, from the mill towns of Lancashire, textile centres of Yorkshire, shipyards of the north-east to the mining towns found throughout the north and the fishing ports along both east and west coasts. However, whilst much of the south and east of England has in general prospered economically, the north and west have remained relatively poor; consequently there are currently many government-subsidised urban regeneration projects happening across northern towns and cities, aiming to redress the lack of private investment in the area
Five of the ten most populous cities in the United Kingdom lie in the north.

The picture is not clear-cut, however, as the north has areas which are as wealthy as, if not wealthier than, fashionable southern areas such as Surrey. Yorkshire's "Golden Triangle" which extends from north Leeds to Harrogate and across to York is an example, as is Cheshire's Golden Triangle, centred on Alderley Edge. Equally, counties such as Cornwall share the relative economic deprivation often associated with parts of the north.


I then decided to take a closer look into the 4 main cities we were told to focus on 

Liverpool - a distinctive Global City.
Aims and priorities
We will make Liverpool the preferred choice for investment and job creation by…
Exploiting the national and international profile of the city and the vitality of its citizens.
Enhancing the City’s infrastructure, links and distinctive sense and quality of place.
Encouraging business creation, growth and productivity.
Supporting research, innovation and enterprise throughout the city.

We will empower people to enjoy the best possible quality of life and reach their full potential by…
Reducing inequalities by improving life chances and protecting and promoting good health.
Giving children the best possible start in life.
Raising skills and educational attainment for all age groups.
Promoting independence and independent living.
Protecting and supporting our most vulnerable residents.

We will make Liverpool a more sustainable, connected and attractive city by…
Promoting new ‘green’ industries and encouraging new generation technologies.
Reducing carbon emissions from buildings, vehicles and operations.
Ensuring the city has the best possible physical and virtual connectivity.
Optimising the value of green and public space in the City.

We will build strong, attractive and accessible neighbourhoods by…
Developing a shared sense of identity and community pride.
Encouraging more engagement with local people and groups.
Improving the quality, range and choice of housing.
Making all area of the City clean, vibrant, accessible and safe.

We will ensure services are efficient, effective and offer value for money by…
Putting the customer first.
Encouraging more innovation.
Empowering our staff.
Working with partners to improve service quality.
Making the best use of our assets and resources.
We work for the customer not ourselves.
We do everything we can to provide excellent services and encourage our partners to do the same.
We lead by example.
We treat customers and colleagues with fairness and respect.
We continually improve what we do and how we do it.
We take pride in our city and ourselves.
We make the best possible use of what resources we have available.
We focus on outcomes rather than processes.
We believe in real partnership, together with partners we can be trusted to make a difference in everything we do.
We are open to change and to criticism in order to improve what we do and how we do it. As a City and a Council we will achieve success and celebrate it."
Landmarks |
Albert Dock

Metropolitan Cathedral

Musuem of Liverpool


"Situated in the middle of the United Kingdom, with a diverse population of 751,500, Leeds is the third largest and one of the fastest growing, greenest cities in the UK.

A thriving economy boasting strengths in financial services, legal, manufacturing, health and retail, Leeds has excellent road, rail and air links, providing a gateway for tourist and business visitors to the region. Trinity Leeds, the £350 million retail development reinforces Leeds as one of the finest shopping destinations in the UK.

Our vision is for Leeds to be a truly child friendly city. Children and young people leave school with qualifications above the national average. Two of the UK’s leading universities, the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett​ University have world-class research facilities and two of the top business schools, with Leeds Trinity specialising in teaching.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals care for more patients than anywhere else in the north of England and is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe.

The restoration and development of flagship cultural and sporting venues makes Leeds’ cultural offer unrivalled. Home to Opera North, Northern Ballet, Phoenix Dance Theatre and the First Direct Arena. Leeds is home to Yorkshire Cricket, Leeds Rhinos and the John Charles Centre for Sport which was used by the Chinese and Dutch Olympic teams."

Vision for Leeds 2011 to 2030

"Best city in the UK', that is the key aim of the Vision for Leeds 2011 to 2030. This means:

- Leeds will be fair, open and welcoming
- Leeds’ economy will be prosperous and sustainable
- All Leeds’ communities will be successful

Leeds, like other national and international cities is faced with a number of key challenges. The city’s population is set to rise to around one million, its economy is still recovering from the effects of global recession and the consequences of a changing climate have become all too apparent.

In addressing these challenges, Leeds must continue to be a forward-looking city and have a clear plan for the future and this is why the Vision for Leeds is important.

In developing the Vision for Leeds the Leeds Initiative led a consultation with Leeds residents who were asked to discuss what their priorities for the city are. Using this feedback and the expertise of key partner organisations, such as the universities and NHS Leeds, Leeds Initiative was able to develop a Vision that is serving the needs and wants of the residents and businesses of Leeds.

Leeds City Council leader Cllr Keith Wakefield adds:
“This Vision is ambitious; we are challenging ourselves to be the best city in the UK. That means being fair, sustainable and inclusive. The consultation exercise highlighted that people care about community and society as much as infrastructure and buildings.

"So this Vision sets out not only how we aim to achieve a 21st century transport system for the city, but also our ambitions to create a more cohesive city with stronger communities.”