Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey savaged the Tories’ much ridiculed Northern Powerhouse initiative at the northern TUC conference on Saturday (April 21).
The Labour MP blasted the time it takes to travel between Salford and London compared to the journey times between northern cities.
Long-Bailey said, “It takes me two hours to get from Salford to London.
“It took me three-and-a-half hours to get from Salford to Newcastle today — less than half the distance. The Northern Powerhouse is complete rubbish when they cannot link two northern cities.”
The MP for Salford & Eccles blasted the Tories “managed decline” of industrial centres in the north and highlighted the fact that the UK “has the worst regional inequality in the whole of Europe”.
Long-Bailey said a Labour government would implement a comprehensive industrial strategy geared towards delivering the “best possible life for people”.
Trade unions would be included within the strategy as “vital players to create a vibrant economy”, Long-Bailey added.
Unite regional secretary for the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside, Karen Reay, agreed that only a Labour government would be serious about creating a Northern Powerhouse.
“The Tories see us as the Northern Poorhouse. Predominantly people in the north are not really Tory supporters. The history of the trade union movement and the Labour movement has been extremely strong in the north, so they’re not that interested. We’ve had our industries over the years, like shipbuilding and mining, absolutely decimated by the Tories,” said Reay.
“We’ve rebuilt and we’ve done that without the help of Tory governments, despite their claims. The northern region is also going to suffer phenomenally because of Brexit and there is no additional money coming into this region at all, nor will there be under a Conservative government. It’s time we had more control over the funding so we can properly invest in the north, which is why Labour’s plans to create regional banks after Brexit are so important.”