Sheffield region in line for £37.8 million for Northern Powerhouse project

Sheffield business leaders have welcomed a £37.8 million boost for the Sheffield region from Prime Minister Theresa May.

Monday, 23rd January 2017, 3:10 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd January 2017, 3:17 pm
Prime Minister Theresa May.

Mrs May is due to announce the funding for the Northern Powerhouse project today as part of her industrial strategy. A total of £556 million will be spent across the north.

At her first regional cabinet meeting she is expecting to reveal details of project that will create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth.

Richard Wright.

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Sheffield Chamber of Commerce executive director Richard Wright said: "The industrial strategy unveiled by the Prime Minister today seems to be a real attempt to build upon some of the principles she has outlined about making Britain better for everybody.

"I particularly like the regional aspect to it which is something the chambers have been lobbying for. One size does not fit everybody across the country and we all have different priorities."

Details on how exactly the £556 million will be spent have not yet been revealed by the Government.

Mr Wright said the 'devil will be in the detail', adding: "Picking sectors has delivered mixed results in the past, so the focus on skills and research and development is a good idea. A different approach to finance investment is also needed.

Richard Wright.

"Get the foundations right and the rest will follow.

"The Government has outlined a more interventionist policy which can work to a point.

"We must all remember however that government cannot do everything. Business needs to pick up the cudgel and become more productive and create wealth."

The latest funding announcement follows the £2.9bn growth deal already awarded to 11 local enterprise partnerships in the north. Mrs May said the scheme was aimed at improving living standards, productivity and the spread of economic growth around the UK.

The Leeds city region will get £67.5 million while Manchester will receive £130.1 million.

The Prime Minister said: "It’s about saying 'what are our strengths?'

"As we come out of the European Union, we’re coming together as a country, we’re forging our shape, our future.

"We’re shaping a new future for the UK as a global Britain, and how can we do that.

"What the modern industrial strategy will be about will be saying what is the shape of the economy that we want in the future.

"Where are the successful sectors that we can help to encourage to grow?

"But also what are the sectors that we need to look at for the future too?

"There’s a lot we can do in science and innovation."

At the heart of the £556 million deal will be an overhaul of technical education, including £170 million of capital funding to set up institutes of technology to deliver education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (stem) subjects.

Mrs May also highlighted plans to extend specialist maths schools, and a new research institute looking at battery and storage technology. Thousands of technical qualifications, many of which the Government sees as low quality, will be replaced with 15 core technical 'routes' designed to meet the needs of industry and teach skills in demand from local employers.

Business and energy secretary Greg Clark said: "This is an important step in building a modern, dynamic industrial strategy that will improve living standards and drive economic growth across the whole country.

"A modern British industrial strategy must build on the UK’s strengths and extend excellence into the future; close the gap between the the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest; and ensure we are one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business."

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