New minister must strengthen collaboration with Northern businesses

The new Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy MP must focus on gaining support and investment from northern businesses to help make Northern Powerhouse a reality.

Martin Venning, director of the UK Northern Powerhouse Conference and Exhibition, the biggest gathering of Northern businesses in the UK, says the new minister must secure investment from stakeholders within the North to support growth and jobs.

Venning said:

“The new minister needs to act fast to ensure we don’t lose any momentum on any of the actions that have already been taken. The Northern Powerhouse Economic Review made it clear that if we get it right, then the northern economy can expand by an extra £97bn and 850,000 jobs by 2050. But if we get it wrong, then the North will be cut further adrift from the hothouse economy of the South East.

“To get it right, we would like to see Government accelerating its investment in transport infrastructure and broadband and consider expanding UKTI’s activity in the North, so that the right kind of proactive strategy is driving international trade with countries like China and India.

“This kind of investment cannot be met by Government funding alone and it is vital that new forms of collaboration are reached with key stakeholders and businesses who will play a vital contribution to the process of building a stronger, more productive and stable Northern economy.”

February’s UK Northern Powerhouse Conference, which attracted over 2,300 delegates, led to a major report – called next Steps for Transformation – which was based on research by IPSOS Mori and included calls for investment in east-west transport infrastructure rather than north-south investment. Many of the report’s recommendations have already been picked up by Government.

The 2017 UK Northern Powerhouse Conference and Exhibition takes place on February 21 and 22 at Manchester Central and is expected to attract some 3,000 delegates over two days.

The conference is one of the few events to attract delegates from across the entire range of sectors, with leading political, academic and business figures from across the North of England present.

Topics being addressed during the conference include productivity, manufacturing, transport and infrastructure, housing, devolution competitiveness, productivity and the North as an international powerhouse.

Organisers also expect significant attendance from international delegations, including China.

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