David Cameron: Conservative Party will close the North-South divide

Prime Minister makes pledge as Conservatives pin hopes of election victory on North marginals

Chris Radburn/PA Wire Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron

David Cameron will today pledge that a Conservative Government will close the economic chasm that stands between the North and the South.

The Prime Minister will set out a vision that would see the North grow as fast as the dominant South East with just five days remaining before voters go to the polls.

Appealing to the electorate in North marginals key to a Tory victory, Mr Cameron will unveil a four-point plan to make George Osborne’s ‘Northern powerhouse’ a reality.

He will pledge to invest in infrastructure, back science and technology, improve skills and devolve more power to North authorities.

He will highlight how the North East had the fastest-growth in earnings in England over the last Parliament, and say: “My message to everyone in the north is simple: the Conservative Party is the party for you.

“Forget about Labour, they’ve let you down before and they’ll let you down again. This time next week, Ed Miliband could be propped up the SNP, funnelling cash north of the border. The only way to stop it, the only way to secure the future of the north, is by voting Conservative.

“We have the ideas, the passion, the desire and yes the track record to create something special here. What I’m pledging to here is nothing less than the most important commitment to the north for decades: we’re going to close the north-south growth gap.

“We’re going to build a Northern Powerhouse, with more jobs and new investment coming to the north.

“The next five years will see a northern surge – and, economically, it will be the most exciting time to be here since the industrial revolution.

“But it all depends on having a Conservative government. If the Scottish Nationalists are in charge, propping up a weak Ed Miliband, the north won’t get a look in. Transport projects in the north will get cancelled. Investment in science and industry in the north won’t happen.”

Mr Cameron will make a £13bn investment in North infrastructure and develop plans to upgrade the A66 and A69 and to widen the A19.

He will pledge to invest a further £2.7bn in new trains for the East Coast line and develop plans for 140mph trains running between Yorkshire and the North East

He will pledge to follow through on pledged investment to Health North and Newcastle’s Science Central as well as back the Transport for the North plans, which include a high speed East-West rail line.

He will also say a Conservative Government will invest £28m for a manufacturing catapult centre in County Durham’s Sedgefield.

The Prime Minister will pledge one million apprenticeships in the North and is committed to opening negotiations with the Local Enterprise Partnerships and the North East Combined Authority on devolving powers.

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