The first-ever Convention of the North has been proposed for June 2018 in Newcastle by the elected mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region.
Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram made the suggestion for the convention in Newcastle to other northern leaders, which will help the region as a whole make the right decisions for transport investment in the region.
It is thought that the Convention of the North will provide a focal point for Northern Powerhouse Rail, which has been launched.
With key decisions set to be made by the government on HS2 plans for the north – and fears that cost-cutting measures may affect Northern Powerhouse Rail – the Convention will bring the region’s mayors and leaders in the transport industry together to make decisions on investment needs that will benefit the whole region, in preparation for the autumn Budget.
Mr Burnham and Mr Rotheram want to see a cross-party Convention with representation from the whole of northern England including business and civic leaders.
Its agenda will focus on rail investment, with northern leaders calling on the government to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail at the same time as HS2, redeveloping Manchester Piccadilly and a new city centre station in Liverpool – all of which will allow Northern Powerhouse Rail to be built.
Several thousands of jobs will be created and thanks to the overseas investment it will attract, the north-south divide should be narrowed.
Elsewhere, the Convention’s agenda will focus on Brexit and devolution, giving the north a chance to shape its own future.
Mr Burnham believes the Convention will help to guarantee a Northern Powerhouse for the north.
He said: “The time has come for real change in the way our country works and in our politics. By bringing together business and civic leaders alongside political leaders, we believe we can give a powerful voice to communities which have traditionally been neglected in our over-centralised democratic structures.
“Westminster has created a large north-south divide in our country and closing it won’t come from the same-old, but from truly new thinking.
“People in the north have been promised a Northern Powerhouse and this Convention will be the way of making sure they get it.”