The former chief executive of Manchester City Council, and one of the key architects of the Northern Powerhouse initiative, Sir Howard Bernstein, addressed Lancashire entrepreneurs on Thursday 30th November 2017 at a special Leaders Lunch hosted by Downtown in Business at the Samlesbury Hotel.
Sir Howard spoke at length about the devolution deal that he helped to strike for Manchester – and why Lancashire’s political and business leaders need to get their act together to push for a devolved model of their own.
“If you have confidence in your city, in your place, why wouldn’t you want to take more powers and responsibilities over the things that drive your economy, such as transport, skills, and connectivity.
“I think the county has been too slow to act and take advantage of the opportunities being offered by government. As a result, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, and other places with devo deals, are now benefitting from additional funding and resources – whilst big counties such as Lancashire and Yorkshire are being overlooked.
“Business leaders here have every right to ask civic leaders what their plans are for the future; how to they believe they will strike a devolution deal without even being prepared to establish a Combined Authority for Lancashire.”