Wales politics

'Northern powerhouse' includes north Wales, says Stephen Crabb

Stephen Crabb
Image caption Stephen Crabb says he will make the case 'at the heart of government' for north Wales rail electrification

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb will tell business leaders later the chancellor's proposed "northern powerhouse" is not exclusive to England.

Mr Crabb will claim that the powerhouse proposed by George Osborne includes linking north Wales with the northern regions of England.

Mr Crabb says he is "banging the drum" in government for electrification of rail lines in north Wales.

It follows last week's £500m deal to electrify lines in south Wales.

Mr Crabb will tell the Daily Post Business Awards ceremony at Bangor University: "North Wales is not just an economic region in itself, it is part of a wider community - not just south to Swansea and Cardiff, but north and east to Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Humberside.

"The northern powerhouse the chancellor has spoken about is not exclusive - not restricted to England.

"It's about linking the northern regions, including north Wales, to trade, grow, attract private investment and attract the best people.

"Business leaders in north Wales are the driving force behind the economic recovery in Wales and the people that are making north Wales our own northern powerhouse."

'Transformative'

Mr Crabb is spending two days touring businesses in north Wales.

After the sacking of his predecessor, David Jones, all three Wales Office ministers are now based in south Wales and Mr Crabb is keen to avoid the accusation that the north is being neglected.

On Thursday evening he will say that he is "banging the drum" within the UK government for electrification of rail lines in north Wales, after last week's deal to electrify lines in the south.

He will defend the HS2 rail project in England after claims that its construction will damage the Welsh economy.

Mr Crabb will say: "This afternoon I visited Rhyl Station - one of the main stations on the north Wales coastline, to bang the drum for north Wales rail electrification.

"Just like in the Valleys - electrifying the lines for stations like Rhyl would have a transformative effect for north Wales - connecting people and business with opportunities and jobs right across the country, so that geographic location is never a barrier to success."

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