North of England: Economic Support Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: HM Treasury

North of England: Economic Support

Jake Berry Excerpts
Wednesday 11th November 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Westminster Hall
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts

Westminster Hall is an alternative Chamber for MPs to hold debates, named after the adjoining Westminster Hall.

Each debate is chaired by an MP from the Panel of Chairs, rather than the Speaker or Deputy Speaker. A Government Minister will give the final speech, and no votes may be called on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Jake Berry Portrait Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwen) (Con)
- Hansard - -

What a pleasure it is to follow the thoughtful speech by the hon. Member for Barnsley Central (Dan Jarvis). He does a fantastic job as the Mayor of South Yorkshire. We have a bit of history of working together to make sure that the area had the powers he mentioned. I am sure that he would want me to say that when he talks about South Yorkshire, and Mayors more widely, having a deal and investing money, that is a partnership of significant Government money and money that he will have raised locally. Of course, there was no devolution in England except in London until a Conservative Government were elected in 2010 with the sole desire of delivering a northern powerhouse of which devolution is such an important part.

I do not intend to talk about the challenges facing the northern economy because they have been well set out by the hon. Gentleman, but I do want to talk about two things briefly. The first is the hit that northern culture has taken from the covid crisis. Opera and ballet will be at the heart of the culture of many people who live in London and the south of England, but for many of us in the north it is our local football club—our Glyndebourne, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House or Royal Shakespeare Company will be Blackburn Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Barrow, Carlisle or Sunderland.

There is an argument going on between the EFL and the Premier League at the moment, and the time has come for the Government to intervene to seek to unblock it and save local football clubs across the north of England, many of which are the cornerstone of our communities and at the heart of our culture. I hope that the Minister will reflect on that during the debate.

A bright point for the north is that many of us in this room have the privilege of representing constituencies that have a significant manufacturing base. It was our constituents who, during the covid crisis, put their shoulders to the wheel—there was no furlough for them. They went into factories to do shift work. People at Bark Engineering in Bacup made ventilators; people at Perspex in Darwen made the screens that we see all over the country in retail and office space.

It is our constituents who have worked so hard for the economy, doing hard jobs to make sure that we can trade through covid. We can see that from the September purchasing managers index stats, which showed that the north of England—every part of the north—was growing faster than London. That is a testament to the strength of our manufacturing base and the huge amount of work that our constituents have done.

We formed the northern research group to pay tribute to our constituents and look at important issues such as the Green Book, which we are going to dissect in very short order. We will also press the Minister and the Government on this issue. We need a northern economic recovery plan and recovery fund so that we can ensure, as a praetorian guard for the Prime Minister, that we are levelling up our communities across the north.