The Northern Powerhouse has led the way in terms of attracting regional investment in the UK. But what’s next? This was the topic at hand this morning, as our Director of Strategy, Jessica Bowles, sat on the panel ‘What’s next for the ‘Northern Powerhouse’?’ at MIPIM.
The transformative idea behind the Northern Powerhouse has the power to change the way people live and work, as well as the economic landscape of the North. By building a Northern Powerhouse, we will be able to boost the local economy, investing in skills, innovation, transport and culture. Devolving significant powers and budgets to elected mayors ensures decisions in the North are made by the North, giving Northern cities the power and resources needed to allow them to reach previously untapped potential.
Over the next 15-20 years, the initiative could create an additional 850,000 jobs, adding £100 billion to the economy by focusing on creating a modern transport system, supporting world leading industries and growing the skills base in the North.
The Northern Powerhouse is home to a number of top universities, bringing great skills and talent to the regions. But it is the vibrant culture and interesting heritage as well as jobs that makes people stay in our cities, allowing the North to retain that talent.
Bruntwood has its roots in the regional cities across the North, as well as the Midlands. It is clear to us that there are huge benefits to creating stronger relationships between the cities and the areas around them, economically, culturally and socially.
Currently, the cities have changed and developed, all doing incredible things, but while each is big and growing, unfortunately none are that big in global terms. The success of the Northern Powerhouse in the future will depend on collaboration between the cities. This means bringing together our complementary and world class offers, for instance in relation to health and life science, digital and big data and advanced manufacturing.
At the heart of Bruntwood is our vision to help make our great city regions greater and to ensure our plans are fully aligned with those of our city regions. We are supporting this by providing the right science and tech facilities to enable businesses to start up, scale up and grow into national and global companies. With science platforms in Manchester, Alderley Park, and Leeds (as well as Birmingham), with ambitions to grow further. We are home to over 400 companies, providing support for growth and community building something that has a real value, for the businesses and for cities.
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, of which Bruntwood is a part, has brought together business leaders to drive an ambitious agenda for change, including a groundbreaking report on skills and education. This has set a challenge to Government, as well as businesses, to ensure that our children have the skills they need to thrive in a modern economy and that businesses can access the skills they need to meet their growth potential. Transport for the North has also set out a strong investment case for new transport infrastructure, based firmly in how the economy works in practice. These priorities resonate because they make sense and have a clear connection to economic growth.
Delivering and funding these solutions is a shared responsibility between cities, Government and business. The cities are thriving and full of businesses doing interesting things attracted by the energy, vibrancy and talent they find there. This is something we see every day across our portfolio, particularly in our science and tech facilities.
We are in a period of disruptive change for the North which matches the disruption and rapid change we are witnessing in all walks of life. This disruption may bring uncertainty, but it also brings huge opportunity for the future of the Northern Powerhouse, its people and its businesses.