The Northern Powerhouse is the second largest economic region of the UK. However, the challenges it faces in terms of delivering the housing and infrastructure necessary to continue to drive the northern economy are unprecedented. From industry attrition and demographic constraints to the impact of Brexit and the perceived general attractiveness of the industry, there are numerous risks that could impact future growth potential. Yet it is also true that with risk, comes opportunity.
The recent announcement from Education Secretary Justine Greening to increase funding for schools has been welcome. However, her budgetary balancing act will be difficult to sustain and, as she says, involve some difficult choices. Delivering this benefit within the Department for Education’s (DfE) existing budgets will require reductions in capital, and this will pose a further challenge for the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and local authorities.
The toughest challenges faced by today’s water utilities are the ability to prove the resilience of their operations and reduce bills while still ensuring their customers are satisfied. With details of water regulator Ofwat’s PR19 consultation now out, it is clear that the nation’s utilities and boards are going to be under more pressure than ever to not only pass muster, but to prove ‘exceptional’ performance.
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