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Economic growth is fastest in North, says Chancellor

Chancellor George Osborne has said the fastest growing economic activity right now is in the North-East.

Giving a keynote speech in Manchester, he said people were also joining the jobs market there at the fastest rate.

Despite being a Londoner, the MP, who represents Tatton in Cheshire, spoke of his love for the North.

Being a Londoner I am proud to represent a northern constituency.

I feel the buzz and the energy every time I’m here. And I see it too in the Treasury data."

– George Osborne.

Create 'northern powerhouse,' says Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne gives his keynote speech in Manchester.
Chancellor George Osborne gives his keynote speech in Manchester. Credit: Pool

A new high-speed rail connection and better roads could create an economic "powerhouse" in the north of England to rival the success of London, George Osborne said today.

The Chancellor is proposing the new transport link between Manchester and Leeds to connect a collection of northern cities, which if combined could 'take on the world.'

He said he was prepared to back it up with money in the sum of '£6 to 7billion.'

He said: "It's a vision of how you create better road and rail links across the Pennines.

"We are about to commit, later this year, many billions of pounds to investing in our economy to try to bring together a vision of how the north of England can have this northern powerhouse."

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Osborne: No absence of money to keep country safe

Chancellor George Osborne has played down suggestions that monitoring British Jihadis returning to the UK could be hampered by a shortage of funds.

He told BBC Breakfast: "There's no absence of money to keep our country safe. We've made a huge investment in security and counter-terrorism.

Screengrab of Isis 'recruitment' video on YouTube.
George Osborne's comments came after Brits were shown in an Isis 'recruitment' video. Credit: YouTube

"I don't think it's a question of the money, because we've not only protected the counter-terrorism budget, we've increased funding for the security services.

"But it's a question of priorities, I think. These are highly-trained professionals in the security services and the police and they do profiles, they work out who are most likely to be the biggest risks and of course they focus their human resources on that."

"The police and the security service and the Government are working intensively on this, as I've seen for myself," the Chancellor added.

Osborne: Appoint Northern mayors 'to rival Boris'

George Osborne has said there is a 'strong case' for more elected mayors to drive growth and development in northern cities and rival London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Speaking on BBC radio 4's Today programme the Chancellor said: "I think there is a strong case for elected mayors in places like Greater Manchester to make sure they have the same powers, the same clout, as the mayor of London does in our capital.

"I think it helps to have a single individual who is, of course, democratically accountable, but also bringing together powers over planning, housing and transport."

He added he wanted to bring together cities like Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Hull with new transport links.

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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Cable: Don't 'lecture' China on human rights

Vince Cable speaks to bankers and City bosses in the City of London Credit: Laura Dale/PA Wire

Vince Cable has said that Britain must recognise China's economic achievements instead of focusing on "lecturing" the country on its human rights record.

"As far as human rights is concerned I don't think we should be lecturing the Chinese, but it is right we have a proper dialogue with them about it," he told the CNN's The Business View.

"When I was in China I raised with senior party officials issues around trade union rights and strikes.

"But I think it's got to be done in a certain tone and I think must be accompanied by respect for what the Chinese have accomplished," he said.

More: Osborne hails 'momentous progress' in UK-China links

Britain an 'old declining empire' says Chinese paper

The front page of the Global Times online edition. Credit: Global Times/screengrab

A Chinese newspaper has described Britain as an "old declining empire" in an editorial criticising UK press reports of the Chinese premier's visit to London.

The Global Times paper, run by the country's Communist regime, hit back at reports that China had demanded Prime Minister Li Keqiang was granted an audience with the Queen, which it cited as evidence of anti-Chinese prejudice.

"A rising country should understand the embarrassment of an old declining empire and at times the eccentric acts it takes to hide such embarrassment," the paper wrote in an editorial.

More: Osborne hails 'momentous progress' in UK-China links

China PM: Deal should be a 'win-win cooperation'

Li Keqiang said the China-UK partnership is a benefit for the whole world. Credit: ITV News

China's premier Li Keqiang has said the UK-China trade deals may mean a "win-win co-operation" that could benefit the "two peoples and the whole world."

Today's meeting at the UK-China financial forum comes after the signing of yesterdays trade deals, worth £14 billion.

In a speech on the final full day of his visit to the UK, Mr Li said that China and the UK should view each other's development as an opportunity for growth.

More: UK and China sign £14 billion trade deals

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