The Great Northern Powerhouse conference took place today in Leeds, giving an opportunity to hear and contribute to the ongoing debate and understand a little more about the vision, commitment and focus for the north.
Having recently announced MK’s move to the Northern Communications Group, I was all ears. The conference was a strong line up of key politicians, business leaders and media contributing to the discussions and direction the region will take in the years to come.
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) has set out proposals to narrow the much discussed ‘North-South divide’. There is to be an extra £1bn a year from within the education budget for Northern schools along with further devolution, giving Transport for the North more control over the Northern transport network – and giving the North the power to introduce road pricing. Hear hear.
Investment in transport infrastructure and a £250m housing fund is also proposed by the NPP to build new garden and urban villages in areas such as Manchester Airport and Bradford. All resounding stuff and heartening for those areas that have struggled post-industrial era and when comparted to our southern cousins.
Five years on from when the Northern Powerhouse was launched, there’s no question the ideas continue to get stronger and stronger, and George Osborne himself was there to tell us, no less.
But, as Osborne highlighted, there has been a lack of vision from the government – hasn’t there just. As a region, we have much to be proud of with world class education institutions, improved infrastructure and growing business communities – and devolved political powers in our city’s mayors – but it’s now time to act as well as to talk.
At the Northern Communications Group, we understand the opportunities and potential for the north. With national and international businesses announcing relocations to the region monthly, and increasing investment from across the world – it is, indeed, time to act.