A Labour MP from Oldham has criticised the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ name after thousands of northerners are still suffering power outages.
It’s now been a week since Storm Arwen hit the UK and left thousands of homes in the north of England and widespread parts of Scotland without any electricity during one of the coldest months of the year, and this is what prompted Jim McMahon – Labour MP for Oldham West & Royton, and Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – to take to Twitter to address the situation.
The apparent lack of swift action taken by the government resolve the ongoing issues following the storm has drawn criticism online, particularly in relation to the ‘North / South divide’.
Jim McMahon was a prominent voice in the critiquing, as he took to social media yesterday to point out the irony in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ name, when thousands of residents across several northern regions are still suffering power outages.
“Northern Powerhouse? Thousands still haven’t got power,” he said in his now-viral tweet.
“It’s now nearly a full week since Storm Arwen hit leaving many vulnerable and isolated waiting in desperate conditions.
“The government have not treated this as the emergency it is.”
While The Northern Powerhouse may not directly relate to the matter at hand, it was the fitting, yet contradictory, name of the government’s plan that cleverly-aided Mr McMahon’s argument.
Mr McMahon’s tweet has received both support and criticism online.
One Twitter user responded: “I don’t live up north, I have no connection with the north and I know absolutely nobody up north but I know if this situation was happening across Hampshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire a national emergency would have been called.
“I don’t know much but I know that.”
On the contrary, another urged Mr McMahon to: “Do something constructive by calling for the nationalisation of our utilities.”
In the government’s own words, the Northern Powerhouse is the “vision for a super-connected, globally-competitive northern economy with a flourishing private sector, a highly-skilled population, and world-renowned civic and business leadership”, and is a proposal based on the benefits of agglomeration and aims to reposition the British economy away from London and the South East.
The “proposal to boost economic growth in the North of England” was launched by the 2010–15 coalition government, and then in 2015-2016 by the Conservative government.
The “Core Cities” are Manchester, Hull, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, and Newcastle.
Storm Arwen arrived last Friday.
The storm – which prompted the Met Office to issue what they described as a “rare red weather warning” – brought with it gale force winds and heavy rain, which eventually turned into snow blizzards that left people stranded in their homes and, in some rural areas of the country, snowed-in completely.
In England, a major incident was declared in County Durham in the North East, with residents and some households moved into temporary accommodation as a result.
And in Scotland, it was also confirmed yesterday that about 120 military personnel have been drafted in to help those still suffering power outages, with their focus being on conducting welfare in the communities still badly affected.
More snow is currently forecast for across the UK next week, according to the Met Office.
Featured Image – Geograph (John Brightley)