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Manchester mayor Burnham calls on new government to commit to Northern Powerhouse and ‘break with austerity’


Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has called for a “decisive break with austerity” and an early government commitment to Northern Powerhouse.

Burnham said on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme yesterday that commitment to the Northern Powerhouse would “lay the foundations for a second Labour term,” adding “if people in the North of England see change come through in a Parliament they will stick with this government for the long haul.”

Burnham said that would involve starting on a new Liverpool-Manchester railway, which he and Liverpool Mayor Steve Rotheram have been touting since the cancellation of HS2.

He was also asked about the two-child benefit cap. Burnham said he understood Starmer can’t “just go out and make commitments,” but added: “As and when, keep these matters under review, but we really want to have a decisive break with the austerity of the last 14 years, that has been so punishing for so many people in our country”.

Burnham also said he would like Manchester to build its share of the 1.5 million new homes promised by Labour and that he wants a “large number” of those to be council homes.

Meanwhile Unite leader Sharon Graham also told the programme people were “literally hurting” and that “crumbling public services need money”.

Speaking on the same show, new Business and Trade Secretary Jonathan Reynolds, the Tyneside-born MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, insisted that “decarbonisation is not deindustrialisation,”and said job protection should be a condition of government investment, but also said that government involvement in businesses would not be about “underwriting loss-making business in the way we might have thought about in the past.”

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