Introducing Project North | Sarah Stook
Whether you think Sheffield or the Watford Gap is considered the North, there is still a clear discrepancy. Simply put, the Westminster bubble runs far too deep and that is the expense of those not privileged enough to be born in the south. The government designated ‘Northern Powerhouse’ minister has rarely ventured north, causing the Conservatives to hush it up, whilst the most powerful Labour members are all centred in London and the south.
For regular readers and old ones alike, my name is Sarah Stook and I have been a regular contributor to The Mallard for nearly 2 years. Only a few days ago, I founded ProjectNorth, an organisational group dedicated to lobbying all parties to recognise the potential of the north. When the government means the Northern Powerhouse, it simply means Manchester and maybe a few other cities get a bit of funding. It forgets many important issues and places, with most of the north getting forgotten simply because it isn’t Manchester.
The organisation has several aims as follows:
- Transport-Londoners get approximately £419 more per head spent on transportation than northerners do. Funding for transport in the north fell by 3.6%, but rocketed up by 11.4% in London. Whilst London enjoys upgrades, the rest of the north is left with old, unreliable trains. Network Rail recently announced a £1.8bn ‘northern project’ which actually means upgrades in the south.
- Education- There is a gap of £900 per head between students from the north and London. That is enough of a problem.
- Housing- More houses have been built recently in London than the whole of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ cities put together.
- Towns- Put funding into towns like Grimsby, not just big cities like Manchester.
- Trips- Ensure that the Northern Powerhouse Minister actually visits the north.
The project is non-partisan, welcoming people of all political stripes. I have already contacted every MEP, MP and mayor in the North, having interest from two MPs and a potential meeting with one MEP in the couple of days that it has been running. Though I understand that funding can be very partisan, the hope is that it will bring together everyone to show how much potential the amazing north has.
Interested in helping? Anything from canvassing MPs to sharing social media would be welcome, with as little or much time as you want to give. If you want to help, you can do the following:
- Check out the website (unfinished but still running): https://sezzastook.wixsite.com/projectnorth
- Email: email@example.com
- Follow Twitter on: @ProjectNorthUK and @sarah_stook
Thank you for reading and I hope that this will help get the momentum behind ProjectNorth going.