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Farron blasts Government for thinking that the North only includes big cities

September 7, 2017 9:15 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has today blasted the Government's decision to meet exclusively with big city mayors to discuss Northern Powerhouse plans as "outrageous" and "foolish".

Chancellor Philip Hammond is due to meet with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, Liverpool's Steve Rotheram and Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen to discuss infrastructure investment, while at the same time completely freezing out representatives from anywhere rural or semi-rural.

Tim said: "This is once again a prime example of a London-centric government's failure to understand the lives of people living in the North of England.

"Of course large urban areas have a massive role to play in boosting productivity, but the Chancellor is forgetting that the North of England is an overwhelmingly rural region. People living in communities like Cumbria need to see an improvement in broadband, transport and energy infrastructure just as much as people living in the big cities.

"It is therefore outrageous that elected representatives from rural areas are being prevented from contributing to this discussion.

"People living in rural areas such as South Lakeland will be just as heavily impacted by the government's investment decisions as those in urban areas, so refusing to take into account their views in important discussions such as these is just wrong and is just plain foolish. Government's decision to ignore the rural north was seen recently in their breaking of the promise to deliver electrification of the Lakes Line to Windermere.

"We desperately need an investment strategy that works for rural areas like ours as well as big cities. It appears that the Government knows very little about areas like Cumbria, and cares even less."