Category Archives: Press Releases

Press releases from the Foundation. For media enquiries please contact Paul Salveson paul.salveson AT btinternet DOT com
07795 008691

A Northern Agenda for progress

A NORTHERN AGENDA

The EU Referendum has thrown British politics into turmoil. Completely absent from the debate has been any thought as to the implications for the North of England, which voted – overall – heavily for Brexit. We recognise that there were many different and contradictory reasons for that, including a strong sense of marginalisation in many Northern communities, socially, economically and politically. But we cannot ignore the strong undercurrent of racism which we completely deplore.

It’s time for a new Northern agenda based on progressive forced working together. The Hannah Mitchell Foundation is a cross-party voluntary association which is committed to social justice, extending democracy and a vibrant Northern economy. In particular:

  • We want to see a North which has much more responsibility for its own affairs, with democratic devolution – at the very least – along similar lines to that enjoyed in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and London but taking grassroots power much further, to neighbourhood level
  • We remain committed to Europe and believe that ‘another Europe is possible’ – based on social justice, mutual respect, tolerance and sharing – and is achievable in or out of the EU. We will build stronger links with our sisters and brothers across Europe, with full support for a ‘Europe of the Regions’
  • We want to see a blossoming of Northern culture which is inclusive, vibrant and diverse
  • We want a Northern economy which is expanding, with an emphasis on green industries and an expansion of Northern-based research and development
  • We want to see an end to hatred and intolerance, for a North that is a great tolerant and welcoming place to live and work for everyone
  • We want to reach out to our sisters and brothers in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and other parts of England to develop a modern, progressive federal Britain
  • We want to see political parties, civil society, trades unions, faith groups working together to achieve this agenda and putting aside their differences to achieve real change. This includes the longer term aim of electoral reform and in the short-term a progressive alliance at the next General Election

Please sign up to our new discussion forum – Northern Network @NorthrnNetwork and follow us on facebook Northern Network

June 29th 2016

Jo Cox – we honour and celebrate her memory

Jo Cox, MP. – Statement from the Hannah Mitchell Foundation

Jo Cox was many things – an outstanding Member of Parliament for the West Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen, a much-loved local campaigner, a champion of the refugees displaced by wars, a great person to be with. She was also a member of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation, the campaign for democratic devolution in the North of England. She shared our vision for the North, and for Britain and Europe, that was democratic, prosperous, multi-cultural, socially inclusive and egalitarian. She was convinced the vision could only be realized if Britain remained part of the European Union.

Because she worked tirelessly towards this vision, Jo Cox was assassinated. On June 16th, she was stabbed and gunned down in her constituency by a man associated with fascist organisations. Though he acted alone, and may have planned Jo’s murder alone, he was not in any simple sense a lone killer. All actions arise within particular contexts and these help shape and drive those actions forward. The context in which Jo’s killer acted was that of the Referendum debates and, particularly, the toxic, anti-foreigner, anti-EU Leave campaign. Its propaganda, whether it flowed from Farage and UKIP, from Johnson, Gove and others on the far right of the Conservative Party, or from the likes of the Sun and Daily Mail, provided a warped ideological legitimation for Jo’s assassination.

For everyone who seeks a better future for the North and for Britain, as Jo Cox did, the best and most immediate way to honour her life and work would be to vote Remain on June 23rd.

 

Give rail powers to The North

 

21.45 Sunday October 20th 2013

PRESS RELEASE: (immediate)

The North needs a better, publicly-owned and accountable, railway

The Hannah Mitchell Foundation – the North’s campaign for regional devolution – has called for a major enhancement of the North’s rail network with rail services managed by a directly-elected Northern Assembly and run on a not-for-dividend basis.

In its response to the Rail North consultation on its ‘Long Term Rail Strategy’ the Foundation has called for “a compelling vision which puts a publicly-owned railway at the heart of a new North”. It argues for a programme of electrification and line re-openings which would provide the capacity and jobs the North urgently needs and could be delivered more quickly than HS2 – and bring greater benefits.

Prof. Paul Salveson, General Secretary of the Foundation, said “We would like to see the re-opening of the Ashington Blyth and Tyne and Leamside Lines in the North-East , Skipton-Colne, Penrith – Keswick, Bradford Cross-Rail, re-opening of the  Woodhead Route (Manchester – Sheffield) and new  lines to Fleetwood and Skelmersdale. Many locations could benefit from new stations and a Northern-wide ‘new stations strategy’ is needed.” He added that “we need to be more creative in our vision for stations which should become social, business and cultural centres as well as transport interchanges”.

His views were echoed by Foundation chair Barry Winter who said that rail in The North should be democratically accountable. “Our strong view is that Rail North should, in future, be answerable to a directly-elected Northern Assembly with a transport committee comprising elected members working closely with an experienced executive team. Rail North, with its 33 member authorities, each with their own agenda, demonstrates the need for a single pan-Northern elected body. Scotland has responsibility for its rail network and it has worked very well; so has Merseyside- the North as a whole should have the same.”

The Foundation argues that a new approach to rail in the North should put people before profit and point to the £108m profit made by the two Northern franchises last year, despite public subsidies totalling over £600m. “We want to see a future Northern Railways which is owned by the people of the North of England – passengers and employees – and not private shareholders whose prime concern is short-term profit, said Paul Salveson. “We think this could be achievable relatively quickly, when the current franchise ends in 2016 – and we invite interested organisations and individuals to work with us to achieve it.”  Ends/ For more information ring Paul Salveson 07795 008691

Note for editors

The Hannah Mitchell Foundation is a broadly-based campaign for Northern devolution, supported by many Northern MPs and peers. Linda Riordan (MP for Halifax) 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 grandson 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.

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.