The Oaks Hotel in Burnley played host to Downtown Lancashire’s exclusive breakfast event with the Chief Executive of Manchester City Council Sir Howard Bernstein yesterday.
One of the key architects of the Northern Powerhouse initiative, Sir Howard was in conversation with Downtown boss Frank McKenna, and covered a range of topics, including Manchester’s renaissance, devolution, Brexit, and the current political landscape.
Arguing for a cohesive northern voice that could take its place in the premier league of global economies, Sir Howard explained that essential capacity and volume can only be achieved with greater collaboration and better connectivity across the North.
Accepting that Manchester was ahead of other regions, he said that Liverpool and Leeds were on track to deliver significant projects through the powerhouse agenda; whilst even in the West Midlands, seventeen local authorities had come together to agree a devo-deal.
‘Lancashire is a big place, but if it is to take maximum advantage of the opportunities that devolution offers, the political leaders here have to put traditional rivalries to one side and get on with delivering what is best for the county’s businesses and Lancashire’s economy.’
Sir Howard encouraged business leaders and organisations to come together to put pressure on civic leaders to work together more effectively.