Michael Jones, Cheshire East Council Leader, defends trip to China

Cheshire East Council leader Michael Jones has defended his £5,000 week-long trip to China funded by local taxpayers.

Cllr Jones took part on the trip alongside leaders of Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle councils.

He said it could lead to more jobs and wealth for Cheshire East “in years to come”.

“China is the second largest economy in the world and will grow by the size of Germany’s economy again in the next ten years,” he added.

“China is a wonder of achievement, building 17,000 km of high-speed rail in the last ten years and skyscrapers that dwarf New York’s.

“So why did I go? Firstly, to support the Northern Powerhouse, it is essential we rebalance the UK economy as London overheats and the North has the skills base and appetite to attract investment into our growing economies.

“Cheshire is the gateway to the Northern Powerhouse and we are already doing well with record low levels of unemployment and our companies are doing well – very well – and that is an important message I took to China.

“I believe Cheshire has the best economy in the North, especially with our northern science corridor and our manufacturing excellence throughout the borough.”

He said one of the key sites the trip marketed was Alderley Park bio-science park, and believes the HS2 hub for Crewe will attract investors from China.

“Once the decision on the HS2 northern hub is announced, there will be a whole range of new sites across Cheshire and potentially Staffordshire that could attract investors from China.

“China has billions of pounds worth of foreign currency to invest as well as a market of 1.5 billion people for our companies to sell into.

“Because of the trip, Cheshire East was introduced to many key investors and, for many of our companies, we have started a process they will be able to utilise to attract investment – and that should mean more jobs, more wealth across the borough.

“It was an exhausting trip, three cities and six flights in six days – but it does illuminate the scale of opportunity for our employers and, potentially, to the council.

“It was amazing to see how quickly major investment decisions can be made – and delivered – in China.

“I do not suggest we copy their approach, but it is nevertheless impressive and does show what people and a nation can do when they put there mind to it.

“I do support this kind of energy and delivery. However, a plan-led approach and thorough public consultation is the right way for us here in the UK.

“We will need to think more about the opportunities but it was well worth a visit and hopefully the start of more jobs and wealth for the whole of Cheshire East and beyond.”


  1. Des Adams says:

    Six councils spending probably £5k each? Would it not be better to have had one delegate from China flying over here instead, and speaking to all the UK councils?!!

  2. brangane says:

    It is interesting that councils squeal about being short of money but can always find enough for jollies like this. At best, this jolly looks speculative with no certainty at all that any real benefits will accrue from it.

    • paul haighton says:

      Completely agree that that one there is pot hole on my estate and also who tuned out the lights and made Nantwich road even more dangerous by lowering the speed limit and put no repeating signed up I wonder if the payment needed to go out at the same time as he was booking his first class window seat… repeater signes or champagne breakfast???

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