The private sector alone will not be able to realise the full potential of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse plan, according to a national property consultancy firm.
Matthew Scrimshaw, head of the Yorkshire and North East for Lambert Smith Hampton, was speaking after a new report by a Sheffield-based economics institute found that planned infrastructure investment remained heavily weighted towards the south east with London receiving more investment than all the rest of the regions combined.
He said that while organic private sector growth can generate momentum for the Northern Powerhouse, it is generally accepted that the poor connectivity from east to west remained the largest barrier to the initiative’s success.
Mr Scrimshaw added: “There is no question that east-west transport links must be radically improved if the plan is to achieve its full potential and not be constrained or reduced to a couple of strong regional centres with everything in between not getting the full benefit.
“James Wharton MP, who has been appointed as the minister responsible for the plan, studied in York then worked as a lawyer in the north east so he will know better than anybody that the north-south rail links are already fast while the east-west links are painfully slow.”
According to the report by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (Speri), infrastructure investment in London is about to reach £45bn or £5,305 per person compared to £1,946 per head in the north west, £851 per head in Yorkshire and Humberside and just £414 per head in the north east – the lowest in the country.