NORTH Wales must be part of chancellor George Osborne’s plans to create a “northern powerhouse”.
That was the view of Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb MP as he toured businesses in the region.
Speaking to the Leader on a visit to its parent company NWN Media Ltd’s base in Mold, Mr Crabb said it was important for Mr Osborne’s plans to created a “northern powerhouse” based around Manchester not to be limited to England.
He said: “It’s a fabulous concept, this idea of the northern powerhouse and in some people’s eyes it means different things.
“The concept as we are trying to take it forward is not just linked to one city - Manchester - it is actually about the whole of the north of England and seeing a revival of their economic and civic strength.
“We want to see these cities become drivers of growth and job creation in the way they used to be during the heydey of the industrial revolution.
“I think we ought to recognise the way the country has become a bit lop-sided and the economy has been more geared towards London and the south-east. George Osborne is absolutely determined to change that, with the northern powerhouse at the heart of that vision.
“I am very clear that because of North Wales’ strong economic link - not just to Manchester but to Liverpool and the entire north of England - I want to see north Wales included in that northern powerhouse concept.
“When we talk about things like HS2, the hub station at Crewe and potential for electrification of the North Wales main line and you look at the role of major exporters and manufacturers in North Wales like Airbus and Toyota, you can see very much what we have got here in north Wales is pretty special.
“It fits very neatly in with the concept of the northern powerhouse.
“I keep telling my cabinet colleagues when we are talking about the northern powerhouse it isn’t just an English thing - North Wales is very much linked to this and I am keen to use my role as Secretary of State for Wales to promote that.”
Mr Crabb, Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, toured businesses in Wrexham during his visit and met staff at brake specialists Fibrax Limited factory in Queensway, Wrexham, and the huge JCB plant on Wrexham Industrial Estate.