The deputy leader of UKIP has blasted the notion of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, stating that the policy only reinforces perceptions of a Westminster bubble.
Paul Nuttall criticised the plans following a ComRes poll for the BBC that revealed 44% of people in the North had never heard of chancellor George Osborne’s flagship policy.
Nuttall, who is also an MEP for North West England, criticised the misplaced priorities of the Government, with increasing numbers of families struggling day-to-day.
“The fact that only Westminster politicians are getting excited about the so-called ‘Powerhouse’ shows how little they understand working people’s lives at the moment,” said Nuttall.
“The average working family is struggling to make ends meet and has no interest in whether or not there is an added level of bureaucracy, they are just worried about how they are going to pay their bills.
“A ‘Powerhouse’ is not going to solve the problems of low wages, a crumbling health service and a lack of school places, so it’s no wonder the public aren’t interested in it.”
Osborne’s aims to attract investment and make the North an economic hub to rival London have been met with scepticism, with over two-thirds in the North having little or no knowledge of the policy.
According to plans announced 12 months ago, Greater Manchester will have an elected mayor, which should give the region tighter control of its purse strings.
However, the Government has recently received criticism over its perceived empty rhetoric, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn pinpointing the non-intervention into the beleaguered steel sector.
And this disconnect is something that Nuttall, from Merseyside, has highlighted, delivering a damning verdict of the Government’s record in the North.
“Perhaps if we had better quality MPs in the North and a government that could see further than the M25, the inequalities between the North and South would not be so great,” he said.
“I’m all for decisions being made as locally as possible, but like many people in the North I’m not convinced that this is the genuine article, especially as it will still be at the mercy of funding from the Westminster bubble.”