With the upcoming snap General Election set to be held on June 8th, Theresa May now has the opportunity to prove her commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.
The Northern Powerhouse agenda proved integral in winning seats across the North in the previous election, with David Cameron and Northern Powerhouse spearhead, George Osborne attending the Northern counties with promise of minimising nationwide economic disparity.
However, with May’s commitment to the cause already under the spotlight, George Osborne has decided to stand down from parliament just two years after his key role in securing the Tories first majority win since 1992. The ex-chancellor has promised his ongoing allegiance to the Northern Powerhouse, but his efforts will not represent those of the Conservative party given his decision to leave the House of Commons.
This comes just after the annual UK Northern Powerhouse international conference, which highlighted a substantial requirement for a major focus on housing throughout the North, improving existing housing stock, strengthening communities and building new homes in order to generate long-term balanced UK economic growth.
The performance of Northern Powerhouse regions and individual cities proved pivotal to sustained UK property price growth in 2016, with Manchester recording the fastest house price growth in the UK at 8.8% and Liverpool securing an 8% year-on-year increase on sales volumes. Yorkshire and Humber and the North West also took the two top spots for rental value increases at 4.5% and 4.4% respectively.
The Northern Powerhouse is also considered to play a huge role in securing overseas investment, especially from the likes of China and Hong Kong.
Whether or not May will action her promise to “get all of our great cities firing on all cylinders to rebalance our economy”, the backing of the Northern Powerhouse must surely be a priority, if not only to win as many seats as possible, but to narrow the north/south divide and bolster the UK economy as a whole.