Author Archives: Andrew Wilson

Warm welcome for Ed Miliband’s ‘regional banks’ proposal

The Hannah Mitchell Foundation, a campaign for Northern regional government, has warmly supported Ed Milband’s call for a network of regional banks.

“This is the sort of radical and creative thinking which Labour needs to do more of,” said the Foundation’s chair, Barry Winter. “Northern businesses – and people with new ideas – need the support of a banking system which understands the needs of the region. We simply don’t have that at the moment.”

The inspiration for the regional banks plan owes much to the experience of the German regional and local banks, the ‘sparkassen’. They are only able to lend within their region and have a duty to ‘promote civic growth’. Professor Paul Salveson, general secretary of the Foundation, commented that “there are many more lessons to be learnt from the German experience. Alongside regional banks the Germans have a highly effective system of directly-elected regional government which works closely with the regional banks. We need something similar here if we are serious about promoting a strong Northern economy”.

In 2011 the German local banks had a total loan stock of £280 billion whilst the figure for German commercial banks was only £153 billion. “Having a strong network of regional and local banks, some run as co-operatives and mutuals, is essential for the revival of the North’s economy. Working with a Northern regional government and empowered local authorities, we could reverse the decline of the region’s industrial base,” said Barry.

Ends/ For more information ring Paul Salveson 07795 008691

Download the document (MS Word doc): Welcome for Miliband’s regional banks proposal

Note for editors

The Hannah Mitchell Foundation is a broadly-based campaign for Northern devolution, supported by many Northern MPs and peers. Linda Riordan is president of the Foundation.

The Foundation was founded in March 2012 to lobby for devolution to the North of England and is rapidly building up support across the North of England. Its patrons include Lord Prescott, several MPs and the grand-son of Hannah Mitchell. Hannah (1871-1946) was a radical activist who was imprisoned during the agitation for women’s votes. She went on to become a popular councillor in the Newton Heath ward of Manchester. Although she had just two weeks of formal schooling she was a talented writer.

Report on “A Voice for the Northern Economy” IPPR North Conference

Many supporters of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation and readers of this website are familiar with the excellent work of the Institute for Public Policy Research North (IPPR North) and its collaboration with the Northern Economic Futures Commission (NEFC). Its report ‘Northern Prosperity is National Prosperity’ provides a vast amount of national and international research. It highlights the reasons why the northern economy has been in long-term decline and signposts a range of proposals for a better, fairer, future for the North. Interestingly, it identifies the Northern region of England, as does the Hannah Mitchell Foundation, as the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber.

This was the focus for the conference, ‘A Voice for the Northern Economy’, held in Leeds by IPPR North on 28 January 2013. The keynote speaker was Rachel Reeves MP for Leeds West, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Neil McLean Chair of Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) responded.

Read more of the report by Jenny Cronin here A Voice for the Northern Economy. IPPR North Conference (Opens a word document)

Hello! More about the Hannah Mitchell Foundation

Hello! If you are visiting our website for the first time after watching the BBC’s Inside Out programme (or you’ve come here by any other route), welcome!

About the Foundation

The Hannah Mitchell Foundation works for a fair and prosperous North of England.

For that to happen, people and places in the North must have the political authority and responsibility needed for us to take care of ourselves.

That means devolution to local and regional government just like in London, Wales and Scotland.

The Foundation is non-party political and has support from a broad progressive coalition based around values of democracy, fairness, inclusivity, self-reliance, enterprise and co-operation.

The President of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation is Linda Riordan, MP for Halifax, and Prof. Paul Salveson MBE is General Secretary.

About Hannah Mitchell

The Foundation is named after, and inspired by, Hannah Mitchell (1872–1956).

Hannah Mitchell was a lifelong fighter for democracy and fairness, put in Strangeways prison in 1906 during the campaign for votes for women. She went on to become a councillor in Manchester, representing Newton Heath.

In her autobiography The Hard Way Up she mentions one of her proudest achievements being the public wash house which she struggled to get built to make working class women’s lives easier.

Her desire for ‘beauty in civic life’ blossomed in her work on public libraries, parks and gardens.

Together we can build a fair and prosperous North.

Why not join us?

The full annual membership fee is £20, £10 concessionary rate and special under-21 rate of £5.

You can download a membership form by clicking “Join Us” above.

What we did in 2012

Read about how much the Foundation achieved in its first year here.

The Economic Transformation of the North

Professor Jeffrey Henderson describes how centralisation led to economic decline in England, and explains why only devolution to local and regional government can reverse that decline and create a fair and prosperous North.

“The fundamental problem that confronts the North, as it does in varying degrees every other region of Britain, is that of economic transformation. The question is not merely how to create economic growth (there was plenty of that during the 1990s and 2000s, but look where we are now), but how to build genuine development capable of delivering generalised and sustainable prosperity with low levels of inequality. If that can be done, then the country’s deepening social disintegration and many of the problems it has engendered, can be halted and reversed.”

Download the full paper: The Economic Transformation of the North

Jeffrey Henderson is a Professor at the University of Bristol and, currently, a Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds. He was born in County Durham and brought up there and in Yorkshire. He returned to the North in 1990 and lived first in Manchester and then in Leeds. He now lives partly in Leeds and partly in Bristol. Between 1992 and 1994 he was an advisor to Robin Cook MP, then Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry. During that time he worked on Cook’s economic policy manifesto, Re-Making Britain’s Future.

What we did in 2012

We were formally established in Bradford on March 9th 2012. Over the last year we’ve gradually built up our membership, had a significant influence in the media, and developed a strong and supportive steering group. Here are some of our key activities last year:

  • 120 people attended our launch event in Bradford City Hall; we received extensive regional and national publicity and had a robust debate with campaigners for an English Parliament
  • We have spoken at over 20 different outside events, including Labour Party, trade union, and non-aligned groups including University of the 3rd Age!
  • We have built up a strong body of patrons including several MPs, peers and campaigners
  • Our own events have been well supported: our fringe meeting during Labour Party conference in Manchester was brilliant, with over 70 turning up
  • Our parliamentary reception at the House of Commons was well attended by MPs, peers and HMF supporters, despite being in the attic
  • We’ve had a well-supported early day motion and an adjournment debate in the House of Commons, thanks to our president, Linda Riordan
  • Our summer school held at the Westwood Centre in the Colne Valley was an enjoyable, productive and fun event which generated lots of good ideas
  • We had a strong presence at Durham Miners’ Gala, NW Labour Party Conference, Chesterfield May Day and Wigan Diggers’ Festival
  • Our Christmas Party in Sowerby Bridge brought together many friends and supporters in a convivial atmosphere to hear Martin Wainwright talk about ‘True North’
  • We have had extensive media coverage, through news reports in the regional media, letters in The Guardian and elsewhere, and features in magazines such as Red Pepper, Chartist, Yorkshire Post and numerous web-based magazines
  • Our website has gradually developed and we are nearly at the stage of launching a re-vamped version. We are on facebook and twitter

Events Autumn 2014

We’ve quite a lot going on over the next few months:

Tuesday August 12th PRESTON: Scotland, the Referendum and the North

Open meeting at The Continental pub, South Meadow Lane PR1 8JP – organised with Red Pepper, Reid Foundation and Radical Independence Campaign.  Starts at 19.00 See news and press releases

Thursday September 11th LEEDS: The radical case for Northern Devolution. 19.30 Civic Hall, Leeds.

An open discussion on why the North needs its own devolution- whichever way Scotland votes!

Sunday September 21st: MANCHESTER (Labour Party Conference Fringe Event). 14.00 Town Hall Tavern, Tib Lane, Manchester (5 mins from conference centre)

Speakers include Cat Smith, Lee Sherriff, Linda Riordan (MP Halifax).



We’re updating our website.

February 14th 2013

Welcome to the Hannah Mitchell Foundation site.

We’re updating the site at the moment, and that will be finished on Saturday 23rd of February.

In the meantime we are on twitter @hannahmfdn

And Facebook, search for “Hannah Mitchell Foundation”.

If you’d like to contact us, please drop Paul Salveson a line:

Paul Salveson
Hannah Mitchell Foundation
Bank Top
90a Radcliffe Road
Huddersfield HD7 4EZ

paul.salveson AT btinternet DOT com
07795 008691