5 December 2015

Northern Powerhouse One Year On

The Northern Powerhouse

Just over a year ago I attended the Northern Futures Summit which was chaired by Nick Clegg MP who was then Deputy Prime Minister. The summit brought together speakers like Ed Glaeser, Jim O'Neil, Tony Trathers and Bob Kerslake as well as local politicians. entrepreneurs and even schoolchildren from across the region to discuss how the resources of the individual communities in the North of England could be pooled and coordinated for the benefit of all.

The shorthand term for this pooling and coordination is "the Northern Powerhouse" which was coined by George Osborn MP who, like Clegg, is a Northern MP. The concept was summarized by the Chancellor in his Autumn statement for 2015:
"The Northern Powerhouse is the government’s plan to boost the economy across the North of England. It is built on the solid economic theory that while the individual cities and towns of the North are strong, if they are enabled to pool their strengths, they could be stronger than the sum of their parts. It means investing in better transport to connect up the North; backing the science and innovation strengths of the North, so that new ideas can be turned into new products and new jobs; investing in culture, housing and the quality of life to make the North a magnet for new businesses and talented people; devolving powers and budgets from London to local areas across the North, and creating powerful new elected mayors who will give people in northern cities and towns a strong voice."
The Northern Powerhouse was a brainchild of the Coalition Government and Clegg and Osborn were its progenitors. Clegg is no longer in office but Osborn is and I am encouraged to see that he appears to remain committed to the project.

In his Autumn statement the Chancellor announced investment in public transport, science based innovative companies and the arts in the North.  A body called Transport for the North ("TfN") with its own website and logo has already been formed.

The Chancellor proposes to invest £150 million of public money in TfN's plans for a new smart ticketing system to allow passengers to cross the region easily by bus, metro, rail or tram.

As for science and innovation, he announced a £250 million investment in nuclear technology some of which will go to Sheffield and a new Northern Powerhouse investment fund to be run by the British Business Bank in collaboration with the local enterprise partnership, new enterprise zones, a sovereign growth fund for the North funded by shale gas exploration  and a £50 million investment in agricultural technology centres in York.

The timetable for the implementation of the Northern Powerhouse is as follows@

2015-16 and 2016-17

Key project starts:
  • The first of almost £3 billion of Growth Deal projects get underway
  • Launch of Health North
  • Construction work on UK Collaboratorium for Research In Infrastructure and Cities hubs
  • Investment package for Small Modular Reactor development and nuclear R&Dlaunched
  • Accelerating £220 million upgrade to M6 Junctions 16-19
Key project completions:
  • Electrification of railway between Manchester and Liverpool
  • Appointment of Transport for the North’s Chair
  • Interim report from Transport for the North
  • Contract award for the New Northern and Transpennine Rail franchises
2016-17 and 2017-18

Key project starts:
  • Construction work on Sir Henry Royce Institute in Manchester
  • Energy Subsurface Test Centre, Chester
  • Construction of National Centre for Ageing Science, Newcastle
  • Great Exhibition Legacy Fund
Key project completions:
  • First mayoral elections for northern cities
  • Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre, Manchester
  • Cognitive Computing Research Centre, Cheshire
  • Mersey Gateway Bridge opens
  • New East Coast InterCity Express trains come into service
  • National College of High Speed Rail, Doncaster
  • Investments under the Builders Finance Fund for new homes
  • ‘The Factory, Manchester’ – a new theatre and exhibition space
  • 2019-20
Key project starts:
Major roads investment projects underway across the North, such as the A1 north of Ellingham and A1 Morpeth to Ellingham

Key project completions:
  • Northern Hub rail enhancements scheme
  • £350 million Metrolink extension to Trafford Park in Greater Manchester
  • Development in extending the capabilities of the National Nuclear Users Facility
  • Improved East Coast rail timetable with additional and faster services
  • Hartree Cognitive Computing Research Centre, Cheshire
Should anyone wish to discuss this article or the Northern Powerhouse project in general, he or she should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

Northern Powerhouse Reading List

16 Nov 2015
BBC website
14 May 2015
BBC website
7 Nov 2014
Eddie Copeland

Are elected mayors enough to deliver the Northern Powerhouse?

Policy Bytes
27 Nov 2015
HM Treasury

Autumn Statement 2015

Policy Paper
3 Dec 2014
HM Treasury

Autumn Statement 2014

Policy Papr
6 Nov 2014
Buce Katz

Manchester England England: Devolution U.K. Style

10 Dec 2014
Jane Lambert

Let's Take this Opportunity with Both Hands

IP North West
8 Nov 2914
Jane Lambert

Northern Futures Summit

IP Yorkshire
25 Oct 2014
Jane Lambert


IP North West
22 July 2014
Jane Lambert

How can Leeds regain its Lustre

IP Yorks
5 July 2914
Jane Lambert

Power. Performance. Potential. Leeds Economic Conference

IP North West
3 Apil 2014
Jane Lambert

Creating a Northern Counterweight to London is good for the Nation

IP North West
3 Jan 2013
Jane Lambert

NESTA in Manchester

IP North West
10 Sept 2011
Jane Lambert

LEP Summit: My Impressions of the Day as a Delegate

IP Yorkshire
16 Oct 2014
Northern Futures

Open Ideas Day

5 Nov 2014

North of England Economic Indicators

6 Nov 2014

Northern Futures summit - PwC comments

PWC in the North
7 Nov 2014
Tony Travers
LSE, British Politics and Policy
7 Nov 2014
Paul Unger
Place North West