May Backs U.K.’s ‘Northern Powerhouse,’ Pledging Transport Links

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May threw her weight behind the so-called Northern Powerhouse infrastructure initiative promoted by George Osborne, whom she fired as chancellor of the exchequer after taking over from David Cameron last month.

The government plans “major investments” totaling 13 billion pounds ($17 billion) to upgrade road and rail links across northern England, May wrote on Thursday in the Yorkshire Post newspaper. It will also back entrepreneurs and innovators in northern universities and companies that are investing in the region, such as Siemens AG, she said.

“We will make massive improvements to transport, making it easier to get around, and more attractive for business to move here,” May said. “Yorkshire is a key part of our vision for a Northern Powerhouse –- our plan to help the great cities and towns of the north pool their strengths and take on the world.”

May has emphasized the need to increase growth and productivity outside London since becoming premier last month. At the same time, she’s shied away from talking about the Northern Powerhouse, a pet project of Osborne’s, leading to speculation that she would deflect the focus from northern England to other regions. The country needs “a plan to drive growth up and down the country –- from rural areas to our great cities,” she said on Aug. 2. 

In Thursday’s article, May also announced 24 million pounds of funding to help bring cycling’s world road race competition to Yorkshire.

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