In a survey commissioned by the BBC, it’s been revealed that 64% of people in the North of England have never heard of, or don’t know anything about, the Northern Powerhouse. The survey of 1,003 adults showed that 20% had little knowledge of the project and a further 44% had never heard of the Northern Powerhouse altogether.

The ‘Northern Powerhouse’ phrase was first coined by Chancellor George Osborne in 2014 whilst making a speech at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

But what exactly is it?

In essence, it is a concept to boost economic prosperity and growth in the North of England. The aim is to bridge the economic gap between the North and South, rebalancing the UK economy away from its current London-centricity. The Northern Powerhouse agenda aims to redress this by doing such things as:

  • Attracting investment,
  • Improving transport links,
  • Devolving more powers to major cities through elected mayors.

It was announced in November that from 2017 Greater Manchester will be run by an elected mayor, giving the area more financial power closer to where the money is spent, rather than being spent for Manchester from Westminster and Whitehall. More local power will greatly help to boost jobs and skills in their area. This demonstrates that the initial concept is being converted into an actual plan. Other major city players touted as “Core Cities” in the Northern Powerhouse are Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield.

Improving the connectivity between the major cities will be a crucial aspect to the success of the Northern Powerhouse. The electrification of the railways has started but has suffered from delays. An east-west northern rail link, known as High Speed 3 (HS3), will eventually connect Hull to Liverpool, passing through Manchester and Leeds. This differs and is in addition to the HS2 which is a planned high-speed railway linking the north to the south; specifically London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

Such transport links are no quick fix though and it will be years till they are finished. Many are questioning if the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is real or if it will be another governmental branding plan that doesn’t lead to very much, such as the ‘big society’.

This remains to be seen, but there certainly seems to be a lot more to the Northern Powerhouse. Furthermore, there has been a designated minister appointed – Mr James Wharton – to lead the proposed powerhouse revolution, work has begun on aspects of the project, devolution deals have already been signed in the North, plans have been made for new arts and science centres and it has “Chinese backing” after President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the region.

The project is certainly gathering momentum and the Chancellor says he is “100% focussed on delivering his vision.”

Gorvins is focused on the Northern communities in which we operate and doing our bit to make this great region even more of a success than it already is through this exciting new project. To discuss any legal aspect when it comes to your business life or even personal issues, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we will do our utmost to help you most proactively and professionally.

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