Mipim latest: Liverpool and Manchester chiefs promote Northern Powerhouse


Further devolution of central government powers to UK city regions is “unstoppable”, the leader of Liverpool City Council and chief executive of Manchester City Council have said.

Addressing a Mipim debate on the “Northern Powerhouse” agenda, Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said the case for greater devolution was making headway: “The train is on the tracks – it’s unstoppable.”

Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, said the mooted devolution of transport powers to northern councils was essential for the region’s economy.

Bernstein said: “The key to agglomeration is better transport connections. Look at city regions in Germany, you see them performing better in terms of GVA (gross value added) and productivity.”

He warned that the biggest threat to the region was a shortfall in skilled workers and urged for a greater focus on education and training, warning: “The skills system is on the verge of chaos.”

Bernstein said there was “a big buzz” around the two cities and “a lot of big projects” would be hitting the Manchester market in the coming months, including the redevelopment of Granada Studios and the city’s planned ‘The Factory’ arts venue.

Anderson admitted he was envious of Bernstein’s ability to co-ordinate the Manchester city region’s development through the Greater Manchester combined authority: “Without a doubt, of course I’m jealous. They’ve had 14 years as a combined authority. Sure I’m frustrated by the lack of collaboration and parochialism [in the Liverpool city region].”

However, he said he was proud to be Liverpool’s first elected mayor.