The Northern Powerhouse has reached its five-year milestone, inspiring Prime Minister Theresa May to comment on the next five years.
Theresa May said: “From kickstarting the biggest transfer of power to local leaders since the Second World War, to driving up exports and spending billions on vital transport links, we’re working to ensure our great Northern cities and communities have the power and resources they need to succeed.
“But there is much more to do, which is why it must remain a top priority for government to do all it can to unlock the North’s vast potential, so that both at home and on the international stage the Northern Powerhouse continues to thrive.”
What has changed?
- Since the launch of the Powerhouse in 2014, the economy of the North is now worth more than £339bn – a £10 billion increase in real terms – and supports an additional 287,000 people in employment.
- The Government is investing £13bn in transport which includes an upcoming £3bn investment into the Trans-Pennine route and support for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
- Almost half of the people in the North are now represented by elected metro mayors with control over local spending plans.
- There has been a £70m Northern Powerhouse school strategy to raise standards while investment in vocational qualifications means that a third of the country’s apprentices are in the North. In addition, there has been support for schools in the North East with £24m of funding through the Opportunity North East programme.
- Businesses have been supported through £20m of new funding for a ‘Made Smarter’ pilot in the North West to support 3,000 SMEs to adopt new digital technologies.
- Growth Hubs have supported over 44,000 businesses and helped over 8,000 people start and grow their own businesses.
- In 2018, three areas were awarded money from the £15m Northern Cultural Investment Fund: £4m for the restoration of the Odeon Cinema in Bradford as a 4,000 capacity live music venue; £4m to create a museum in Blackpool; and £3.3m to enhance the visitor experience at cultural attractions across the Lake District.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP said: “The Northern Powerhouse is more than a plan for the future, it’s a story of success. From record investment in transport to more than £5 billion in devolution and growth deals across the North we are making progress towards rebalancing our economy but we are determined to do even more to make sure the whole of the North can reach its full potential.”