As most people reading this will know, earlier this year, we increased our presence within the UK and set up a northern base in Leeds. We did this for several reasons: to better service existing clients with northern offices; to grow the ib3 brand, but also to support the UK’s growing industries within the north of England. This leads me on nicely to take a look at a hugely powerful concept of The Northern Powerhouse.
What Is It?
So, as a concept The Northern Powerhouse (TNP) aims to align and synergise the communities, cities and towns of the North of England and Wales in order to drive forward the whole country’s economy. The end goal and objective is to redress the economic imbalance that exists between the North and the South through attracting new business interest and adding new investment into existing industries. Hugely important industries, not just to the north, but the UK in its entirety such as manufacturing, and technology could see a benefit from this clear, strategic positioning. So, in essence TNP is a collective agreement to promote the northern industry in England & Wales.
You may have already known and understood the above, but why is it important? As a nation, we have an awful lot to offer with such a diverse array of businesses and skill sets. However, due to certain limitations (I will look into this a bit further in ‘the how’ section) it is seen by many that we are under-utilising one half of the country. A half of the country that has a fantastic history in industry, manufacturing and the service sector. It is therefore believed that with a number of changes, politically, economically and through development of infrastructure, that there is a massive potential and opportunity to thrive as an economy. This is why TNP exists. It’s about giving the tools to the north for it to become greater than it currently is!
How Will This Be Done?
As I alluded to above, there are a number of levers to pull to harvest the fruit of the north. Transport links, governance and commercial investment are the fundamentals to succeeding.
Firstly, transport. This is not only links to the capital but also the infrastructure between the towns and cities of the north. Businesses cannot thrive without it. Rail, road, air and sea port development all increase the attraction of the north. With better infrastructure, the north becomes a more attractive proposition to businesses. The greater and more successful the businesses become, the more talent will be drawn to the area. The more skilled professionals the north attracts and retains, the more experience and knowledge is passed on, therefore increasing the skillset of the region.
Secondly, governance. An aligned, focused approach from the northern towns and cities and their councils and politicians is required. Everyone singing from the same hymn sheet. In addition to this a dissolved element of power. Giving local leaders the power to make decisions away from Westminster. Thus leading to quicker decisions being made by people who have their fingers on the pulse.
Lastly, investment. This all costs money. Roads, education, training and property is needed to facilitate the ambitions. If you were to look at it as a Commercial Manager with a limited knowledge of politics, surely, it’s a pretty sure bet. The ROI potential is there. It’s all about the north being responsible and accountable for the decisions being made and how it’s future is written.
At the beginning of the year, £556m was invested into 11 local enterprise partnerships in the north, which marked the governments first financial commitment to TNP since the new Conservative government came to power. Hopefully there’s more to come!
With all of this in mind, is it any wonder that we want to be a part of it?
Thanks for reading,