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Northern Powerhouse Conference: Percy calls for greater emphasis on culture in powerhouse

Greater emphasis must be placed on culture in the Northern Powerhouse, according to Andrew Percy.

The Minister for the Northern Powerhouse told delegates at the UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference & Exhibition in Manchester that culture is “hugely important” to the success of the concept.

Referencing his hometown of Hull, which is this year the UK’s City of Culture, Percy said: “The reason I mention culture is because I’ve seen what that cultural investment has done for confidence in my city [Hull] – I think people have their shoulders up straight and their heads held higher.

“This is about trying to address some issues around graduate retention and recruitment. Yes, connectivity is important to that and what we do in terms of business support but that cultural offer is to.

“We need to say to people that not only is the North a great place to work in and to invest in but it is also a great place to live and that is why I’m really keen that this cultural element is emphasised much more greatly.”

Percy also offered a bullish defence of the Northern Powerhouse when questioned on the government’s commitment to the concept particularly following the departure of the former chancellor George Osborne.

Percy added: “We should be proud of the Northern Powerhouse.

“The Northern Powerhouse is a concept that will outlive any minister or chancellor.”

The UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference and Exhibition is taking place at Manchester Central on 21-22 February.