In Mid 2014 George Osborne imagined “the Northern Powerhouse” consisting of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Middlesbrough, Newcastle.
George Osborne’s article in Manchester Evening News
from the Manchester Evening News website at
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George Osborne reveals what he feels about Manchester – and how it changed him.In one of his first in-depth interviews since stepping down as Chancellor, he said the city changed him.
George Osborne reveals what he feels about Manchester – and how it changed him.In one of his first in-depth interviews since stepping down as Chancellor, he said the city changed himGeorge Osborne at a Northern Powerhouse Partnership meeting (Photo: Ian Howarth)
George Osborne has revealed how Manchester has ‘changed him for the better’ in one of his first in-depth interviews since leaving office.
The former Chancellor told the M.E.N. he did not regret his austerity measures or calling a referendum on the EU, but admitted he hadn’t expected to spend the second half of this year as a backbench MP.
Speaking at a meeting of his Northern Powerhouse Partnership think-tank, he said he believed that on the economy - including on austerity - he had got things ‘broadly’ right while in office.
He said as Chancellor he could have been ‘careless’, or ‘careful, and be the person who says we can’t afford everything and we’ve got to make some choices’. “The money doesn’t come from anywhere other than people’s taxes.”
Despite the EU referendum leading directly to his loss of office, he stood by the decision to hold it, insisting it was a ‘collective decision’ he had supported. But he said the stakes were now very high for those negotiating Brexit.
“We’ve got some very very big decisions as a country. Get these wrong and we are going to be paying with their jobs and livelihoods for many many years if not decades to come.”
While now actively promoting the Northern Powerhouse from the backbenches, he admitted things hadn’t panned out as expected.
Affection for Manchester
“I’m not pretending this is necessarily where I wanted to end up spending the second half of the year, out of office, because I wanted to win the referendum and I wanted to keep Britain in the EU and I wanted to remain in the government.
“But actually there are a lot of things you can do as an MP to promote your causes outside of the Treasury or the government.”
Manchester has given him a new perspective on the world, he added.
“I think I grew up with this cliché, as many people do in London, which is that if it’s not happening in London, it’s not happening anywhere.
“And then I became an MP in Cheshire and then you come across the other cliché – which is that somehow everything is being sucked to London and is very unfair.
“So my affection for the city has grown over the last 15, 20 years that I’ve been here as an MP and a candidate and I think personally it’s changed me for the better.”