UK ports form alliance in bid to create “gateway to a global North”

The North of England’s four main ports agreed a new partnership in parliament today, as they say £1bn of government funding could help create a “gateway to a global North”.

The Northern Ports Association — which will include Liverpool, Hull & Humber, Tees Valley and Tyne — will aim to create jobs, make importing and exporting easier and create prosperity across the whole of the North.

It comes after Theresa May threw her weight George Osborne’s “Northern Powerhouse” designed to boost growth there last month, despite firing him as chancellor when she became Prime Minister following the Brexit vote.

Read more: It’s more vital than ever that the Northern Powerhouse succeeds

Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, said: “Post-Brexit, the Northern Powerhouse agenda is more important than ever.

“Far from the powerhouse being a Whitehall-led scheme, northern businesses are taking control and creating much-needed jobs and prosperity.

“For just £100m, the government could open-up east-west port connections and create a genuine gateway to a global North. This is exactly the kind of ‘shovel-ready’ project HM Treasury looks to be eyeing up ahead of the Autumn Statement.”

Think tank IPPR recently highlighted the dominance of southern ports and the problems this creates in transporting imports and exports across the UK.

At present, 60 per cent of freight destined for the North is delivered to southern ports, it said. This creates unnecessary motorway traffic, delays, pollution and inefficiency.

The idea of a Northern Powerhouse was first mulled by Osborne in June 2014, as an ambitious proposal to increase the connectivity of the UK’s northern cities, while rebalancing the economy away from London and the South East.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research recently warned that the project would be left on the brink of failure without boosted efforts to attract foreign investment, with a particular emphasis on infrastructure, post-Brexit vote.

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