2 minute read
It’s been more than a year since George Osborne was unceremoniously dumped from Theresa May’s cabinet and whilst the former seems happy enough taking evil swipes at his former boss from behind his desk at the Evening Standard, it was a move that left businesses wondering what now for the Northern Powerhouse?
Has it become a sound-byte for the Osborne era or has the region actually seen some positive and tangible impact?
Many of the programmes started under the scheme are now well underway with over £1bn of government money having been invested in the region but there has been and is still a real fear that the ideology of the Northern Powerhouse will quietly slip away under a government pre-occupied with Brexit however there is an enormous positive in that the North and Manchester, in particular, has a real opportunity to keep the ‘powerhouse’ alive with the support of metro Mayor Andy Burnham who has already pledged £2m to make Manchester, the UK’s number 1 digital city.
Of course, it’s not just about Manchester, the Northern cities which combine to make the powerhouse are already developing vibrant and booming technology and digital sectors, Liverpool and Leeds, in particular, have seen strong growth in digital and tech jobs, these opportunities coming into the region offer a real alternative to London and the South East whilst names like the BBC, Amazon, and Google all combine to create a very attractive offering. Whether this is simply Northern grit and creativity or a direct result of the ‘Northern Powerhouse effect is questionable.
What we do know, as a business based in the North and representing northern technology talent is that the Northern Powerhouse sound-byte or otherwise has piqued interest in the region, people are intrigued about what’s going on ‘up North’ and we’re seeing more people considering relocation or moving back to the region which is testament to the strength of the region.
It’s this progress which needs to be built upon with investment in transport, connectivity and infrastructure making the North an even more attractive place for business and most important, investment in skills, working with education, growing the talent in the region and keeping it here because ultimately people will make the ‘Powerhouse’ a reality.
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