JAKE Berry MP has seen his remit as Northern Powerhouse minister expanded across two government departments.
With his joint ministerial appointment to both the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), Berry’s oversight and coordination of local economic growth is expected to deliver greater impact for people and communities across the country.
The widening of the portfolio is said to strengthen his role, but also indicate the Government’s commitment to the regions up North. The appointment has come ahead of a “refreshed” Northern Powerhouse Strategy, due to be published later this year.
“At the heart of the Northern Powerhouse is an unshakeable partnership between business, communities and government,” said Berry.
“We’re investing more into transport in the North than any other government in history, and with nearly 50% of the North represented by Metro Mayors, a Northern Powerhouse economy worth over £339 billion, and now, with an expanded, cross-governmental ministerial position, that partnership is stronger than ever…
“We are on the cusp of a new era for the North with our modern Industrial Strategy boosting economic growth, supporting advanced manufacturing and creating the right economic conditions to make the Northern Powerhouse one of the most competitive, business-friendly regions not just in the UK but in the world.”
Communities secretary James Brokenshire MP said: “With this broadened ministerial role, the Government has cemented its long-term commitment to the Northern Powerhouse. In Jake Berry, the Government has a minister who has worked tirelessly with the Metro Mayors and our partners in the public and private sectors to drive growth, investment and job creation throughout the North.”
Business secretary Greg Clark MP added: “I would like to warmly welcome Jake Berry to BEIS in his strengthened role as joint MHCLG & BEIS Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Minister.
“I look forward to working with him on this important agenda, as we work with local leaders across the country on their local Industrial Strategies, helping to build on the strengths of each area to secure their economic future.”
Responding to the joint appointment, Roger Marsh OBE, chair of NP11, said: “A fully empowered and connected North has all the ingredients to become a second economic powerhouse for the UK that can compete globally alongside London and the South East. Ensuring a joined-up approach across government to address these issues and unlock the investment we need to realise the North’s massive economic potential is critical to national prosperity after Brexit.
“I’m pleased to see the minister reiterate his commitment to deep and meaningful partnerships between Government, communities and businesses in the North. The NP11 has a unique part to play in bringing all of these partners together, and I look forward to continuing working with the minister in his strengthened role to ensure the Government’s strategy and spending plans reflect the North’s ambitions.”
Berry can be assured the North will be paying attention, both to his extended role and any forthcoming new strategy, as the announcement came just days ahead of region-wide demand for the Government to close the North-south divide.
Today, 33 newspapers and websites across the North issued a demand for action with an open letter calling for action. The Power Up the North campaign, led by the Manchester Evening News (MEN), the Yorkshire Post, the Northern Echo, the Telegraph & Argus, and many more is demanding a “revolution in the way we’re treated”.
“The case for fundamental change is now unanswerable and our political leaders must commit to real change,” said the MEN.