Mayor calls on PM for Northern Powerhouse commitment

Andy Burnham wearing glasses speaking into a microphone
Andy Burnham said Labour's win could lead to a "great era for the English cities" [PA Media]

The mayor of Greater Manchester has called on the new government to "move on really quickly" with plans for a railway that could cut journey times to Liverpool by about 25 minutes.

Andy Burnham said he believed Labour's election win could lead to a "great era for the English cities and regions".

A proposal for an extra line between Liverpool and Manchester was announced in May to improve the region's economy and connections, where rail journeys between the cities vary between 40 minutes and an hour.

The Labour mayor called on the prime minister to "commit early to the Northern Powerhouse - deliver what the Tories said they would do but never did".

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer speaks during a press conference after his first Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street
The prime minister said he could not commit to removing the two-child cap on claiming certain benefits [PA Media]

The Northern Powerhouse term was used in 2014 by then Conservative chancellor George Osborne, when he outlined steps to boost the region's economy and transport.

Speaking on the BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, Mr Burnham said: "We now have the chance, after lots of turbulence in recent times, to have a serious government focused on growth and delivery without all of the psychodramas of the past Tory years."

'Grinding poverty'

He said he wanted Greater Manchester to build "at least our share, if not more" of the 1.5 million homes, which Labour said it would build in the next five years.

He also called for Sir Keir to keep the two-child cap on certain benefits "under review" after the Labour leader faced previous backlash when he refused to abolish the limit.

On Saturday, the prime minister said he "can't make a commitment" to removing the limit, which restricts child tax credit and universal credit to the first two children in a family, but he was "determined" to reduce child poverty.

Mr Burnham said there was "grinding poverty in parts of Greater Manchester" alongside economic growth, adding: "We do need to see change in people's real living standards and we want to lift as many children as we can out of poverty."

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