Northern Powerhouse stays on track

 

Experts shared their views that 1.56 million new jobs could be created in England’s North by 2050 if the Northern Powerhouse keeps the right focus and investment.

What the Brexit result mainly did was re-assure the need for the Government to listen to those in the North, Sir Richard Leese, Lord O’Neill and Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton all confirmed.

The leader of Manchester City Council said: “As we go into turbulent political times that ability to speak with one voice becomes ever more important.”

“We have to deal with the reality of what the result was, we need to give confidence to businesses and investors, and government needs to invest in our infrastructure to grow our economy.”

“If the north of England can speak with one voice and with a shared agenda it is something that is almost impossible for government to ignore.”

These statements came as the recently published Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review explained ways to close the major gap in productivity through generating jobs and enhancing competitiveness.

As the sectors with potential to transform the North for good, the report named digital technologies, health innovation, energy and advanced manufacturing with forecasts of them adding £97bn and 850,000 jobs.

However, as the Northern Powerhouse initiative is so closely linked to Chancellor Osborne, many are now keen to find out whether the changing political landscape might influence the development of England’s North.

Lord O’Neil found some simple words to clear any such doubts: “The referendum result is even more of an instruction to deliver on our work to build a Northern Powerhouse and so it is hugely encouraging that the region’s leaders are working together to set out their long term priorities.”

Northern Powerhouse minister and Brexiteer, James Wharton, expressed both, his surprise and excitement for the result. He then explained: “In the long term I think it will present huge opportunities for the economies of the north of England.”

“The north has led the way on this and I think it is an opportunity to highlight the incredible potential that exists. To take the focus up to the north rather than simply being contained in the south and in the capital is a good thing.”

The Review set out some of the challenges, such as lower levels of investment and the lack of high-skilled workers. These need to be overcome to close the economic gap between the North and the nation’s average.

Lord O’Neil explained: “Leaders need to do more to listen to people who feel they are missing out in life, those that wanted to leave the EU included some of the lowest productivity areas in the country.

“But in order for the Northern Powerhouse to succeed it is up to the people in the north to take ownership and have a desire to make it work.”

This is the first time such a thorough report has been commissioned for the North and the full review can be read here.

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Northern Powerhouse stays on track

Northern Powerhouse stays on track

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