We are delivering economic growth across the northern powerhouse by devolving more power and investing more than any Government in history in our transport infrastructure. That is why, since the northern powerhouse was launched, we have grown the northern economy by £20 billion.
Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire East Council, Warrington Borough Council, the local enterprise partnership and other stakeholders are determined in their quest to secure a devolution deal, yet increasingly frustrated. Will the Minister update the House on the timetable for the deal?
As I am sure the hon. Gentleman is aware, all the councils he mentions and the LEP have brought out what they refer to as the prospectus for growth, which is looking at how they can deliver real economic benefits for the people who live in Warrington and elsewhere in Cheshire. The Government remain open to ground-up locally supported devolution deals. I encourage the hon. Gentleman, the council leaders and the LEP to continue the discussions they have been having with me and my officials.
Last Friday it was announced that Siemens had won the contract for the new Piccadilly line trains and will now invest £200 million in a new train factory in Goole, creating 700 jobs—so not all investment in the south turns out to be all that terrible. However, can we make sure that the Department and the Minister in particular work with Siemens to ensure that the supply chain benefits the north of England in particular?
It takes a former northern powerhouse Minister to remind the current one that those new trains built in my hon. Friend’s constituency in Goole must benefit the entirety of the north of England. I will work with him to make sure that happens.
Should not the Government Front-Bench team learn this truth: that since the departure of the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, there has been no vision, no leadership and no result for the northern powerhouse? Can the Minister not provide some real leadership and let us catch up with some of these soft people in the south of England and London who get all the investment?
I am torn: I find myself partially agreeing with the hon. Gentleman, although I certainly do not agree that there has been no vision or leadership on the northern powerhouse. Since I became Minister we have announced a “minded to” deal for a North of Tyne combined authority, we have reaffirmed the commitment to the north Wales growth deal, we have announced that we intend to do a growth deal in the borderlands and the last Budget included £1.8 billion of new money going to the north of England.