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  1. Daniel Hewitt - Political Reporter

Autumn Statement: Reaction from a North West battleground

The Chancellor and Tatton MP George Osborne has been laying out his plans for the economy in his final Autumn Statement before the General Election, but will it be enough to swing voters in the North West's most marginal constituency?

Our political reporter Daniel Hewitt has been to Bolton West where just 92 votes separate Labour and the rest, to speak to businesses, parents and first-time voters.

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  1. National

Chancellor to set out vision for a Northern Powerhouse

Chancellor George Osborne will today set out the government’s vision for a northern economic powerhouse.

Chancellor George Osborne wants to create a Northern Powerhouse to rival the south. Credit: PA

He will be in Manchester to hear proposals for a £15 billion plan to improve the future of the northern economy in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield over the next 15 years.

Mr Osborne is expected to say: "Today I give you this personal commitment. Work with me over the coming months and together we will make a reality of the plan I've set out for the Northern Powerhouse.

“I'm ready to commit new money, new infrastructure, new transport and new science. And real new civic power too."

  1. National

Osborne: A closely linked North could 'take on world'

George Osborne will say a collection of northern cities linked closer together by new transport infrastructure could "take on the world" as he bids to end London's "unhealthy" economic dominance.

The Chancellor will say in a keynote speech in Manchester today:

We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west - to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city.

As well as fixing the roads, that means considering a new high speed rail link.

Today I want us to start thinking about whether to build a new high-speed rail connection east-west from Manchester to Leeds.

– Chancellor George Osborne

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Chancellor sets out vision for 'Northern Powerhouse'

A new high-speed rail connection and improved roads between England's northern cities could help create an economic powerhouse to rival London, George Osborne will say today.

He will use a speech to say an upgraded, link between Manchester and Leeds should be considered as part of the review of the second phase of the project. The Chancellor will say he wants travelling through towns and cities in the north to be as easy as moving around a major global metropolis.

Under current plans the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project will link London to Birmingham in its first stage, before creating a Y-shaped network with lines to Manchester and Leeds by 2032/33.

We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west - to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city.

As well as fixing the roads, that means considering a new high speed rail link. Today I want us to start thinking about whether to build a new high-speed rail connection east-west from Manchester to Leeds."

– Chancellor George Osborne

Nobody will believe the Tories can deliver the jobs, growth and investment we need for the north of England. Regional growth divides have widened markedly since 2010. The Tories scrapped Labour's successful regional development agencies, failed to implement Lord Heseltine's growth report and are planning to cut infrastructure investment next year.

On high-speed rail, we said months ago that we need value for money for the taxpayer and to improve the existing plans to maximise the benefits for the whole country and strengthen the links between northern cities. Ministers need finally to start listening."

– Shadow chancellor Ed Balls
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