Action urged on powerhouse plan

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The Northern Powerhouse concept now needs a plan of investment to turn it from a “sound bite into reality”, according to South Yorkshire business leaders.

Speaking on behalf of the South Yorkshire Chambers, Andrew Denniff, chief executive of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber, said: “The economy is certainly showing signs of improvement, according to economic indicators such as unemployment, GDP growth and productivity.

“But we need to start to seriously consider how major infrastructure projects can grow our economies, and create wealth and employment.

“For too long, government policy towards infrastructure schemes has been reactive and piecemeal at best. We need a long-term vision for key infrastructure improvements across the country that are not just confined to London and the South-East.

“For instance, here in the North we have the foundations of a strong economic conurbation between Liverpool and Hull that, if supported with the much needed transport infrastructure, could become the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

“While there is growing momentum and increased rhetoric on the project for the North, it now needs a firm plan of investment to turn it from a sound bite into a reality.

“Recently the Sheffield City Region agreed a devolution deal with the government which will give local authority and business leaders a greater say over how they grow the economy and which represents the transfer of powers and policy levers from government to a local level. These powers must enable the city region to make a greater contribution to the overall UK economy.”