Today’s Star columnist: Martin McKervey

Martin McKervey
Martin McKervey
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It is encouraging to see regional devolution plans taking shape to help create the Northern Powerhouse in order to rebalance the UK’s economy.

Devolution plans for Sheffield and Manchester have already been introduced and Leeds is due to follow suit. The city’s deal has been agreed at a time according to Mr Osborne “when Yorkshire has created more jobs than France”.

This was further supported by his Annual Budget 2015 speech which demonstrated further support of the Northern Powerhouse and the transport for the North (TfN) strategy.

The TfN has recently published their first report The Northern Powerhouse: One Agenda One Economy, One North, which is backed by both the Prime Minister and Chancellor. The report is a joint publication by Government, Northern City Regions and Local Enterprise Partnerships, and details a number of initiatives to improve transport systems and connectivity in the North, including a HS3 project, a planned new rail link between Manchester and Leeds as well as a number of other exciting initiatives for the region.

The report features HM Treasury analysis which details the ambition to rebalance the UK economy would be worth an additional £56 billion in nominal terms to the northern economy.

This investment is deemed worthy in order to secure a new scale of activity and rival the best trade centres in Europe.

The report also features a number of international examples where similar initiatives have been successful, including the Randstand region in the Netherlands, which links the four cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht and now generates around half of the Netherlands GDP (£210 bn).

It is becoming increasingly clear that The North could be one of the world’s most competitive regions, playing host to several successful and innovative companies if this level of investment is made. It is vital that we continue to see this commitment from Government to build and drive forward the Northern Powerhouse initiative to help the Northern cities combine forces, attract investment and help the businesses in this region grow both nationally and internationally.