DAVID Cameron will pledge to create the “critical mass” needed in English cities outside London to make them the UK equivalent of Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Atlanta as he takes the election battle to the north west.
The Prime Minister is embarking on a two-day tour of the region with George Osborne to promote the idea of a “northern powerhouse” and build on figures showing output was growing faster there than anywhere else.
And he will offer a vision of a country less reliant on London and more like the US, with several “major centres of industry” other than New York.
“We can only have a strong British economy if no part of the country is left behind.” Mr Cameron will say in a speech in Manchester with the Chancellor before making a series of visits across the region.
“In the USA they’ve got major centres of industry not just in New York but in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta.
“That is what we should aspire to in the UK: economic might not just held in one city but spread right across our country.”
Downing Street said that in 2013. the north west had the joint fastest growth in output per head in the UK and has seen an average of 200 more people in employment per day over the past year.
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Mr Cameron is due to say: “We need a strong London, but we need a northern powerhouse too.
“The top 600 cities in the world contain just 20 per cent of global population but create 60 per cent of global GDP.
“When you get that critical mass of people it amplifies jobs and ideas and businesses. The cities and towns of the north of England can have that critical mass.
“If we join them together as a team and let them pool their strengths, if we back their scientists and innovators, if we back their thriving cultural life, make them great places to live and give them powerful elected voices, then we can create a northern powerhouse”.
Mr Osborne is expected to say that a growing north-south divide “is not inevitable, it is not something we should accept; it is instead something we have in our power to overcome”.
“Rebalancing our national economy, ensuring that the economic future of the north is as bright, if not brighter, than other parts of the UK, is the ambition we should set ourselves.
“We achieve that not by pulling down our capital city, or diminishing its success. Having one of the greatest global cities on earth, located two hundred miles to our south, should be an asset, not a weakness.”
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