Powerhouse 2050: Transforming the North

With more than 15 million people living in the North of England, there is huge potential for this area of the UK to benefit from a thriving regional economy all of its own. The real task is how to harness and make the most of the growth opportunity inherent in the region.

"The Northern Powerhouse has the potential to be a major regional, national, and indeed global, force to be reckoned with."

The answer lies in a collective input from business, industry and government, all working together to unlock and increase the contribution that the North makes to the wider UK economy.  It is this fundamental objective that underpins much of our work with the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP), whose vision to create an additional 850,000 jobs and contribute an extra £100bn to the economy is going to be key for transforming the North. 

Boosting Northern Productivity

The launch of the NPP’s latest report, Powerhouse 2050: The North’s Routemap for Productivity , is a clear signal of intent. It sets out fully costed, evidence-based proposals for four areas of Northern excellence which could, with government funding and business support, see the North rivalling some of the best countries and regions in the world.  

Tackling the productivity gap is key. As the Powerhouse 2050 report identifies, we have the chance to truly lead the way in developing four world-class sectors that are critical to the UK economy. These are: 

  • Advanced Manufacturing & Materials; 
  • Energy
  • Digital; and
  • Health Innovation.

These four sectors build on areas where the North already boasts significant strengths and capabilities that distinguish our region on a national, as well as international, stage. This gives us the chance to develop a very distinct offering for the North. 

The challenge now is how we build the connections, interactions, and relationships between these capabilities in a way that will enable each to reach its full potential. There are some fantastic pockets of innovation and excellence happening right across the Northern Powerhouse region, but it’s only in recognising their combined strengths that the region will be able to thrive. 

Finding the Money 

Government funding is, of course, vital. While significant levels of support are likely to come from both businesses and via the Industrial Strategy Fund, the fact is; the UK has no choice but to boost investment in automation, digital innovation and skills if we are to have any chance of competing at a global level.  

In this respect, November’s Autumn Budget is sure to be eagerly anticipated. Whether we see any major uplift or redirection of funds towards the North remains to be seen, but it’s clear that government consensus is moving in favour of a rebalancing of the national economy. 

The Northern Powerhouse has the potential to be a major regional, national, and indeed global, force to be reckoned with. With the work of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and the publication of today’s report, we now have a clear route-map for the transformation of our entire region.  

This is an exciting time for the North; let’s all grasp the opportunities on offer and make our region the best it can be.