North East Devolution and Levelling Up

Newcastle v Liverpool: this time both can be winners

Which northern region could be transformed by realising its potential as ‘Britain’s renewable energy coast’, and who says so?

Not, as it happens, Tees Valley, with its growing offshore, carbon capture storage and usage, and hydrogen sectors, and not its mayor, Ben Houchen. Not even the Tees in partnership with the Humber in the East Coast Cluster.

Nor the North East, with its own offshore sector at Blyth and on the Tyne, its electric vehicles at Nissan and its developing battery manufacturing at Cambois and at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) on the Sunderland-South Tyneside boundary.

It could have been any of those, but in fact the reference was to the Liverpool City Region, and the speaker its mayor Steve Rotheram. He told the Liverpool Echo that he believes the city region ‘is on the cusp of something genuinely transformational. It could be once in a lifetime.’

He added: ‘For us, the green industrial revolution will be huge. I think we can position ourselves better than anywhere else in the country, and certainly better than anywhere in the North West’.

Mr Rotheram is a politician, so probably prone to talking up the positive to its maximum. Nevertheless, on this occasion he was voicing the same sentiment as this website had done in its own more restrained manner in August when it expressed cautious optimism about green industrial revolution-related developments in the North East.

Mr Rotheram compared today’s opportunities for Liverpool with its City of Culture year in 2008. On that occasion Liverpool was in competition for the title with Newcastle, and the Merseysiders won. This time the green revolution provides a potentially big enough cake for both regions to have a sizeable slice. There is no harm in healthy competition. We can both be winners. Let’s hope so.