Several deals and partnerships between China and Britain are to be announced, aimed at unlocking the potential of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ – a proposed area covering a number of towns and cities (10 to 15 million people) in the north of England that will be given devolved political and economic powers.
On the final day of his latest UK visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister James Cameron will visit Manchester.
First direct UK-China flights outside London
They are expected to announce direct flights to China from Manchester airport. Haikou-based Hainan Airlines, China’s fourth largest airline in terms of fleet size, will have a Manchester-China non-stop route, which the British Government says means £50 million for Manchester’s economy.
Peng Liyuan (left), Queen Elizabeth II, and Xi Jinping.
Mr. Xi and Mr. Cameron will attend lunch at Manchester Town Hall together with 200 business leaders, and community and civic representatives. They will also visit Manchester airport.
Among the several deals to be agreed by the two countries for the Northern Powerhouse is the appointing of BCEG (Beijing Construction Engineering Group) as main contractor for Manchester’s Middlewood Locks regeneration project. BCEG is expected to inject £4 million into the project.
The UK and China are also set to agree on a number of school and university partnerships.
“We are committed to rebalancing our economy and building a Northern Powerhouse. China is a key trading partner for the UK and the partnerships being made today will see real investment going into the north. This is all part of this government’s plan to attract more investment and deliver economic growth to an area of huge potential.”
On their tour of Manchester, Mr. Jinping and Mr. Cameron will visit Manchester City Football academy, where they will watch a training match take place and meet with past and present players from Manchester United and Manchester City – including Denis Law, Patrick Vieira, Gary Neville and Mike Sumerbee.
According to Mr. Osborne, the Northern Powerhouse will be “A collection of northern cities sufficiently close to each other that combined they can take on the world.”
The Northern Powerhouse
Last year, Chancellor George Osborne announced in Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry that Britain needed a ‘Northern Powerhouse’.
Since then a Northern Powerhouse Minister has been appointed. The Government’s website writes:
“James Wharton MP was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government with responsibility for the Northern Powerhouse. He was elected Conservative MP for Stockton South in 2010.”
The aim is to build the area into a collective force that will rival London and the South East.
Video – Cameron invites Jinping to a pint
Mr. Jinping was invited by Mr. Cameron to a pint of traditional ale (Greene King) at The Plough at Cadsden, a pub near the Prime Minister’s countryside residence of Chequers. They also tucked into a basket of mini fish & chips with homemade tartare sauce.