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in association with

Powering onThe Northern Powerhouse, two years in

With George Osborne, Keith Burnett, John Cridland

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Each year, major ports in the north handle roughly 173 million tonnes of cargo. The Humber, the UK’s busi-

est trading estuary with roughly 30,000 vessel movements every year, plays the largest part by handling about half that total, linking businesses across the north to markets throughout Europe and far beyond. The Humber is also home to the nation’s largest port, Immingham. Across both banks of the river, ABP’s ports on the Humber contribute £2.2bn every year to the national economy, including £1.5bn for the region, and support 33,000 jobs.

From the north-east and the Humber across to Merseyside, ports have always been a key driver of both the northern and the national economy.

The international trade facilitated by ports helped build the prosperity of great mercantile cities such as Liverpool, which at one time contributed more to the ex-chequer than the City of London. As Britain’s manufacturing industries have declined, that critical role has perhaps be-come obscured from view.

But ports are not just the foundations of our past prosperity; they remain the foundations of our future prosperity, too. And that’s why ports need to be front and centre in driving the development of the Northern Powerhouse.

Our ports industry today is a national success story. This is another possible rea-son why ports have faded from the wider

national consciousness; ports operate quietly and efficiently, no longer plagued by industrial disputes, which have be-come a distant memory. Over the past five years alone, the industry has attracted over £2bn of private investment in es-sential national infrastructure, helping to create 55,000 new jobs.

Ports in the north have led the way with new developments: on the Humber, ABP is delivering record investment in new facilities and infrastructure, totalling al-most £1bn between 2015 and 2020.

One example is the Immingham Re-newable Fuels Terminal to handle bio-mass for power generation. This invest-ment underlines the essential role that ports in the north have in keeping the na-tion’s lights on.

Biomass at Immingham, for instance, flows through to the Drax power station, which generates 7-8 per cent of our elec-tricity. Also, in the Port of Hull, ABP and Siemens are investing £310m to create a new offshore wind manufacturing facil-ity, a project that will further cement the Humber’s role as Britain’s Energy Estuary.

The development of manufacturing in Hull demonstrates how our ports can play an important role in helping to rebal-ance the economy. And it doesn’t have to be based on renewable energy or other marine-related activity.

Many ports in the north have large ar-eas of land, often post-industrial, which is

Over 95 per cent of our trade in goods moves by sea. Ports in the north are a key part of that trade, says Simon Bird, Humber director of Associated British Ports

Northern ports not in a storm

primed for development. That land can be used for any type of manufacturing.

Large areas of land that benefit from deep-water access can serve as ideal loca-tions for the importation of raw materials and components and the export of any finished product.

So, the potential of our ports to drive growth in the north is not only based upon their capacity to promote trade by providing critical access to global markets; it also rests with their ability to serve as major new manufacturing hubs.

The Northern Powerhouse can provide a game-changing opportunity to maxim-ise this potential and to turn that poten-tial into reality.

This will require a commitment to in-vest in road and rail connections to ports, meeting the needs of businesses across the north and the nation. It will also require a concerted effort by both the public and private sectors to promote ports globally as ideal locations for inward investment, perhaps complemented by the progres-sive development of new and innovative incentive regimes.

Ports on the Humber and across the north are fundamentally important to the north’s economy, and they are funda-mentally important to the success of the Northern Powerhouse. We are ready to play our part in delivering that success. lFor further information, visit


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Are we powering yet?Ask anyone whether they think that the Northern Powerhouse initiative is a good idea in principle and most sensible people will acknowledge that it is. Rightly or wrongly, there has been a perception that the economy and its management has been all about the south for too long. Manufacturing and industry have suffered and the London-centric nature of both parliament and the media that hold it to account has done little to counter this.

Twenty months ago the government made a conscious decision that this was no longer good enough. Whatever someone’s politics, this was a much-needed re-emphasis. Questions remain over how well resourced it needs to be and what needs to change to make it work,

but the line has been drawn; there is no will on any side to go back to centring everything on London.

There is a lot to do, however, to make the scheme work in the way its founders would like. Both the Chancellor, George Osborne, and the Northern Powerhouse minister, James Wharton, make the case for the positive in these pages but it’s a journey that has begun rather than one that is complete. The Institute of Directors, for example, confirms from research that a healthy majority of its members support the initiative but it cautions that it’s time for the substance to start emerging from the rhetoric.

There are pockets of mini-powerhouses starting up, such as the cluster of media expertise led by the BBC in Salford, but

4 George OsborneTwo years onIn August 2014 the Chancellor of the Exchequer launched the Northern Powerhouse. He takes stock of progress.

8 James WhartonThe story so farThe minister responsible for the Northern Powerhouse considers the successes.

12 Peter RadcliffeWhat happens nextThe Institute of Directors has a number of aims for the powerhouse, as its Liverpool chair explains.

16 John CridlandTransports of delightThe powerhouse can only get moving if Britain’s transport infrastructure serves it well enough. The leader of Transport for the North elaborates.

22 Keith BurnettNorthern Powerhouse, northern politics?Inevitably an initiative to serve different parts of the country will be led by politicians, but, as Professor Sir Keith Burnett asks: does it have to be party-political?

The Chancellor considers the region The Institute of Directors takes a view Revamping and reviving rail infrastructure

the north isn’t yet where it was. For the potential to emerge completely, there has to be co-ordination of transport as well as technology, of infrastructure in telecommunications as well as infrastructure in railways. Both are works in progress for the moment. It could also do with depoliticising. Begun under the coalition, the Northern Powerhouse has been readopted by the Conservatives and needs to continue no matter who is in charge by 2020, or even 2025.

Our final article in this supplement looks at the party politics and calls for a retreat. Better lives for people in all regions should be a party-neutral aspiration, Keith Burnett argues.

The Northern Powerhouse has at least made a start. l

The paper in this magazine originates from timber that is sourced from sustainable forests, responsibly managed to strict environmental, social and economic standards. The manufacturing mills have both FSC and PEFC certification and also ISO9001 and ISO14001 accreditation.

First published as a supplement to the New Statesman of 19-25 February 2016. © New Statesman Ltd. All rights reserved. Registered as a newspaper in the UK and US.

This supplement, and other policy reports, can be downloaded from the NS website at

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It is less than two years since I stood in Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry, beside its grand old engines and turbines, and set out my vision for a Northern Powerhouse.

The idea was simple: to bring together the great cities and towns of the north of England to become a powerhouse for our economy again – with modern trans-port links, much stronger civic govern-ance and investment in world-class sci-ence and culture.

Today, more than half the world’s pop-ulation live in urban areas and the world’s most powerful economic hubs are only increasing in size and influence. There is

a strong correlation between the size of a city and the productivity of those who live there. The top 600 cities in the world contain just 20 per cent of global popula-tion, but create 60 per cent of global GDP.

Within 40 miles of Manchester, you have Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool, Lan-cashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire – a belt of cities and towns that contain ten million people. Bring those cities together, con-nect Liverpool to Hull, the north-west to Yorkshire and the north-east – and a pow-erful urban conglomeration emerges.

So the Northern Powerhouse was con-ceived as a new approach to rebalanc-ing the economy, based not on pulling

In 2014 Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne launched the Northern Powerhouse initiative. He reflects on progress so far

Two years onBritain needs to run things from somewhere other than Whitehall

London down but creating something that could realistically compete, not just with our great capital, but with the rest of the world’s leading regions. It is an ambi-tion to address the historic north/south divide. And in the past 20 months or so we’ve made important progress.

First, we acknowledged that the old model of running everything out of Whitehall had to end. Frankly, that model was broken.

For decades, years of highly centralised government have failed the proud cities and towns of the north, and my prom-ise was that we would finally give civic leaders the levers they need to grow their

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local economies. In the biggest shake-up of local government in my lifetime, we have been handing power from White-hall to northern cities so that they can take control of their own affairs. That has meant working across political divides, and I pay tribute to the far-sighted local authority leaders from all parties who have worked with us to create new, pow-erful elected mayors.

Of the six deals announced to date, five have been with cities in the north. The Sheffield City deal announced late last year, for instance, is giving South York-shire a new mayor with access to £900m of funding as well as control over trans-port, skills and business support.

Much better strategic transport links were the second part of my plan. So at the Spending Review I announced that gov-ernment would spend £13bn on transport across the Northern Powerhouse over the next five years.

More than that: I wanted to create a single body, like Transport for London in the capital, that would ensure we had a single, joined-up, locally driven trans-port plan. So we created Transport for the North, and asked John Cridland, ex-head of the Confederation of British Industry, to chair it.

Then we funded the new TfN with £200m, including investment to help make Oyster-style ticketing a reality across the whole of the Northern Power-house. There’s much more to do, but al-ready we have made steps to make travel-ling in the Northern Powerhouse a better experience, with improved trains offering more seats and more services.

We’ve announced that the high-speed rail link connecting Crewe to Birming-ham to London will open six years earlier than scheduled.

We also launched a new National Infra-structure Commission to hold the feet of this and future governments to the fire. One of its first projects, reporting in time for my Budget in March, will be to report on how we can better join up the dots and improve connectivity in the north.

Promoting and investing in both sci-ence and the arts is the next part of the plan to make the Northern Powerhouse a reality.

Late last year, I was delighted to wel-come President Xi Jinping of China to Manchester – the first time a Chinese lead-er has ever visited that great city, where I

showed him the cutting-edge work being done in the development of graphene.

His visit followed my week-long tour of China, where I promoted £24bn worth of investment opportunities in the north to Chinese investors – taking local leaders from both main parties along with me.

The north is now leading the UK and increasingly the world in many areas of science. Take the Sir Henry Royce Insti-tute for Advanced Materials Research, which we’ve backed with £235m of sup-port, the National Centre for Ageing in Newcastle, where we’re putting in £20m, and the new joint nuclear research and in-novation centre in Cumbria, where we’re partnering with the Chinese. There will be £250m of investment into small nu-clear reactors and nuclear research and de-velopment, most of which will be spent in the north, building on existing nuclear strengths in the north-west.

The government has committed tens of millions to new agriscience centres in

York, and we have launched a national £400m Grand Challenges Fund, which will support regional bids for significant science projects.

In the past few weeks, Bill Gates, who is joining forces with the government in our mission to eradicate malaria deaths and fight emerging diseases, came with me to Liverpool to see the great work be-ing done at the city’s School of Tropical Medicine.

I want the Northern Powerhouse to ri-val London and other great city regions of the world in the arts, too.

So we pledged £78m for The Factory, a theatre and arts venue with a capacity of 5,000 on the site of the old Granada TV studios. It will play an integral part in helping the north of England provide a real cultural counterbalance to London.

We’re committing significant sums to expand Hull’s UK City of Culture 2017 and the Yorkshire Festival, while Sir Gary Ver-ity is taking forward a project to showcase the best of the north with its own Great Exhibition, with £20m backing.

Of course, the success of the Northern Powerhouse will rely on the talents and

strengths of the north’s workforce. In an indication that the region has real mo-mentum, employment grew faster in the north than the south over the past year. In fact, the employment rate in the north-west grew faster over the last year than in any other UK region.

Across the Northern Powerhouse there are more people in work than ever before, and around 700,000 of them will benefit from our new National Living Wage, to be introduced in April this year.

Companies such as Burberry are show-ing increasing confidence in the area, an-nouncing plans to open a new factory in Leeds. A Birkenhead firm was recently awarded the contract to build a £200m polar research ship.

Behind each of these announcements lie jobs, pay packets and security for more people and their families. And almost every day I hear about more opportunities that are there to be seized.

I hope anyone who heard me talk about the Northern Powerhouse on that first day will know that I wanted it to be the start of something special, something that the whole of Britain will benefit from.

Now that we have set out on this course, I am more determined than ever to make it work.

It’s a big, systematic, long-term en-deavour for the years and decades ahead, for people of all parties and none to sup-port. Critics who seek to declare an end to the Northern Powerhouse every time an individual engineering project faces a setback or a flood defence is breached both fail to understand the breadth of our intent and do the region a disservice. Of course, we take those things seriously. But the Northern Powerhouse is bigger and broader than that.

As an MP in the north-west for 14 years, I’m well aware that individuality is hard-wired into the north – nowhere else cel-ebrates such a diverse range of communi-ties in such a small part of the world.

But collectively we can be so much stronger than the sum of our parts. There’s more to say and more to do in my Budget next month (March). I know the Northern Powerhouse can bring our great northern towns and counties to-gether to take on the world. l

George Osborne is the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the MP (Conservative) for Tatton, in Cheshire

The north is now leading the UK in many

areas of science

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Tech North has a crucial role in presenting a coherent external brand for the north’s tech and digital community; Tech North can raise visibility and profile among investors and other industry players for the benefit of all, attracting private and public investment into the community to further drive its growth. Only an independent body such as Tech North, without vested interests in any one sector and withthe support of UK government, is likely to be able to achieve this. Given our focus on innovation inthe north-east, we look forward toworking with the Tech North teamon delivering their agenda overthe coming years.

Simon Green(Executive director, Venturefest NE and Information Supernetwork NE)


The north of England’s tech com-munity sits front and centre of the Northern Powerhouse. Our tech and

digital businesses are driving economic growth. Our technology and networks are enabling connectivity, collaboration and movement of people, capital and ide-as. Our founders, entrepreneurs and in-novators are leading the charge fearlessly.

Last year’s Tech Nation report from our colleagues at Tech City UK reported a staggering 57 per cent rise in new digital companies across the north over the past three years, with 170,000 people em-ployed in the north’s tech sector.

Tech North exists to accelerate devel-opment of the north’s digital economy, attracting investment, increasing the in-flow and availability of capital, promot-ing entrepreneurship, supporting talent, growing start-ups and scale-ups and gen-erating jobs.

It works right across the arc of seven cities that form the vanguard of the Northern Powerhouse: Liverpool, Man-chester, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull, Sunder-land and Newcastle.

More than anything, Tech North is about people, with the success of the northern digital economy ultimately

The digital space is growing in the northern region. Paul Lancaster, community engagement and partnerships manager of Tech North, explains

Unleashing the northern tech powerhouse

determined by the richness and connec-tivity of its relationship networks. The front-line experience of the hundreds of founders, businesses, investors and ac-celerators we have spoken to has helped shape our mission and helped us under-stand better how Tech North can change the game.

Our delivery programme has been crafted in response to their calls: from the founders struggling to find the capi-tal and support needed to scale, to young people looking for mentors with experi-ence, and the innovators looking to access global markets.

Already, in only our first six months of operation, we’ve helped to launch the “Tech Nation Visa Scheme”, offering one-to-one advice surgeries and fast-track visas to help match businesses with ex-ceptional tech talent from outside the EU. We’ve launched the “Tech North Found-ers’ Network” as a peer-support service for the region’s founders and entrepre-neurs. We have led discussions around a pan-northern co-investment fund and represented our tech community nation-ally, and internationally in Berlin, Tallinn, Boston and New York. In our “Northern Stars” competition, close to a thousand


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people come together to celebrate and support almost 60 tech start-ups at seven pitch events across the north, bringing them face to face with expert mentors, in-fluencers, investors and the media.

These brilliant start-ups and businesses are our next generation of talent. They join a primed, thriving and electrified north-ern tech ecosystem that is on the cusp of its global potential: tech companies such as Sage and UKFast dominate their respec-tive markets both in the UK and globally; Durham-based Atom Bank (a digital-only “challenger bank”) is ranked eighth in the Fintech 100); Manchester-based market research technology company Reality-Mine has secured £11.4m investment; and Hull’s state-of-the-art Centre for Digital Innovation (C4Di) recently opened, aris-ing like a golden beacon to the world.

When launching the government’s call for ideas toward its five-year UK Digital Strategy, the Minister of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, acknowledged the pivotal role Tech City UK has played in growing the digital economy, but called for further ex-


pansion outside London. He challenged the new generation of tech innovators to act as the driver for proactive citizenship that will lead to improved public services – better schools and housing, and more ef-fective crime prevention and health care.

In response, Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, issued a rallying call to the sector, urging for “a big, collective mind [that’s] unafraid to imagine”, particu-larly in approaches to skills, funding and procurement. He stressed the need to develop deep technology, and called for “the UK to do all it can to foster growth in companies specialising in data science, artificial intelligence and machine learn-ing”, core specialisms for many of our northern cities.

Tech North’s programme of work aims to support this innovative and transfor-mational thinking. Working with our community of founders, entrepreneurs, thinkers and doers, we are providing thought-leadership and support for our northern tech community in champion-ing positive change, promoting diversity, gender balance and equality of opportu-nity. We are supporting innovative ap-proaches to funding and procurement,

infrastructure and enterprise, skills and talent development. We are transform-ing the mindset of national and global investors from “Why are you investing in northern tech?” to “Why not?”

If we are serious about our positioning in global markets and attracting top tech talent, we need to abandon our tendency to modesty and become more visible – and more audible – about what we have already got. Our pioneering work around digital skills and talent through initiatives such as “Career Hacker” by Geek Talent is helping to reframe the debate away from the self-fulfilling “skills gap” and towards

the “skills opportunity” created by the extraordinary depth of talent available across the north.

Our forthcoming report on innovation, produced in partnership with the RSA, will promote new thinking around how the north’s existing and future public, private and corporate assets, resources and infrastructure can be better exploited to support innovation, increase produc-tivity and drive growth.

Even more fundamentally, we are see-ing a change in thinking around what it means to be part of the Northern Powerhouse. Our entrepreneurs are global thinkers, who work beyond boundaries and look outward for inspi-ration, collaborators, markets and – of-ten – investment. For the northern tech community, the Northern Powerhouse is less about north versus south, and more about the immense global potential of the northern cities as a combined, collabora-tive and cohesive offer with support from London.

It is about our place in the world. We are on the cusp of a new global economic model – one that acknowledges and builds on the successes and failures of those that have gone before, one that values human-ity, understanding, emotions and rela-tionships, which promotes knowledge and ideas, encourages trade and enter-prise, and that centres on commercially oriented solutions to social problems. This is the size of our opportunity.

Tech has the potential to address some of the world’s biggest problems – climate change, migration, cheap labour, sustain-able energy – and we take great heart in how many northern founders are using “Tech for Good”. With a £10bn life sci-ences industry, world-class universities, medical schools and teaching hospitals, the north has world-leading strengths in health tech that – at its best – could help humanity reach its fullest potential. This is the scale of our ambition.

We are Tech North. Join us. | @technorthhq | #TechNorth

“I’ve been seriously impressed withthe Tech North team that’sbeenassembled. I have nodoubtthat they’re going to makeareal difference to the northerntech scene.”Tom New(Founder, Formisimo and Northern Stars winner)

“I can’t believe how much TechNorthhas achieved already!What they’ve done is tangible. It’s not just a fluffy marketing play. They’re really making a difference.”Hannah Chaplin(Founder, and Northern Stars winner)

“Tech North is showing the world what the north is capable of!”Gilbert Corrales(Founder,

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This government promised that, if elected, we would begin a new and bold era of devolution for England. We wasted no time honouring our commitment.

Since May last year we have signed six devolution deals across the country, and this month the Cities and Local Govern-ment Devolution Bill received Royal As-sent. It means local areas can now look forward to real control over the decisions that affect their lives, under the leadership of powerful elected mayors.

This is the biggest change in the system of local government for generations, and heralds a renaissance of local power that is long overdue.

For decades, the diverse cities and re-gions of Britain have been controlled from London. Few now believe that is the right model. It led to an unbalanced economy, and left local leaders power-less to make decisions that would make a real difference.

Devolution will restore the local au-tonomy that made our cities, towns and counties strong and prosperous, and admired around the world as models of civic governance. While we want every area of the country to experience these benefits, there is a particular resonance for delivering this commitment in the north, because we are also determined to rebalance the economy by building a Northern Powerhouse.

Viral statisticsThe northern economy already hosts more than half a million businesses, and many of the world’s finest universities and research institutions. Fifteen million people call the north home, more than Tokyo, New York or London, and a new job is created every five minutes.

If it were an independent country, the north would be the ninth-largest econo-my in Europe, worth £290bn, and if the north grew at the same rate as is forecast

Changing the landscape for the northern economy

for the rest of the UK, we could see an extra £37bn added to the national econo-my by 2030.

These might seem like big abstract numbers but they represent a prize worth fighting for, and realising this potential will necessarily involve securing more private investment for the north, particu-larly from abroad.

Chinese investors have already put £650m into the Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone, a world-class develop-ment that will strengthen links with Asia and be the first airport outside London to host direct flights to China.

Other countries are also recognis-ing what the north can offer: £500m of American money is being invested in a waste energy plant in the Tees Valley, and French investors are pumping £180m into a recycling plant in Leeds.

Nissan continues to invest abundantly in its Sunderland facility, a factory that makes more cars than the whole of Italy.

The Northern Powerhouse was launched during the last government. The Northern Powerhouse Minister, James Wharton, outlines the progress to date

The story so far

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All these foreign investors are attracted by the enterprise, innovation and culture of the Northern Powerhouse, and we want more to follow their example. That is why the whole machinery of govern-ment, including our diplomatic missions abroad, are busy banging the drum for the north.

Last autumn the Chancellor published the Northern Powerhouse Pitchbook – showcasing £24bn worth of investment opportunities – and took a large delega-tion of businesses to China to promote it.

Part of promoting the north is demon-strating that we understand what inves-tors want. They require good infrastruc-ture and transport links, such as HS2, and a skilled local workforce. We’re backing northern leaders to make this a reality.

Every devolution deal involves guar-anteed, long-term funding for capital in-vestment, and in the Autumn Statement we announced an investment fund of over £400m for Local Enterprise Partnerships

in the north, with an additional £100m for the north-east.

I will continue to work tirelessly with colleagues from across the whole of local and central government to devolve more powers to local areas, back northern busi-nesses and secure investment.

But real success for the Northern Pow-erhouse will amount to much more than the sum of government funding, or even foreign investment. It must be an ambi-tion for all areas, from metropolitan cities to villages, and all businesses and indus-tries, to help the north reach its potential.

There’s no magic formula for success. There never is. But devolution has arrived and is here to stay. It will require local

business and civic leaders to take own-ership of the Northern Powerhouse and maintain the momentum of growth.

Ultimately our commitment to the Northern Powerhouse and devolution re-flects our determination to be a One Na-tion government, which strives to secure progress and prosperity for every part of the country.

One Nation does not mean spread-ing our national wealth more thinly, or undermining the strength of London, but enabling every area of the country to reach its potential, and contribute to Britain’s success.

It is as Benjamin Disraeli, that great pro-ponent of One Nation politics, once said: “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to re-veal to him his own.” l

James Wharton is the MP (Conservative) for Stockton South and Minister for the Northern Powerhouse

One Nation does not mean spreading our wealth more thinly

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10 | NEW STATESMAN | 19-25 FEBRUARY 2016

Economic regeneration is happening right across the north of England, and a new independent report has

revealed that the region’s largest util-ity companies are playing a fundamental role, by generating approximately £2bn for the local economy each year.

By working together as Infrastructure North, Northern Gas Networks, North-ern Powergrid, Yorkshire Water and Northumbrian Water have the potential to be a driving force in the UK economy. These companies provide essential ser-vices to 13 per cent of the UK population – more than eight million people.

The Infrastructure North report, which was launched at the House of Commons in December, shows that for every £1 the four companies invest, a ripple effect of 87p additional spend in the region is cre-ated. Over the next five years, they will generate additional investment of £10bn in the north through operational and capital expenditure projects and a further £1.3bn on salaries. Since 2013 these utili-ties have grown their supply chains by 40 per cent, creating work for 33 per cent more businesses within the north and generating 9,000 jobs.

The companies are also tackling key issues where they have a part to play to improve the health and well-being of the region. These include skills and training, poverty, resource efficiency, education, in-novation projects, environmental impact

and more. The Infrastructure North collab-oration is unique and one that senior po-litical figures are urging others to follow.

James Wharton MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, said: “I’m very pleased to see collaboration – the key life-blood of the Northern Powerhouse – be-tween these companies to align plans for growth and invest in long-term solutions. I’d welcome further collaboration with other companies across the north to ex-tend this good work.

“I commend these companies for the way they are helping to sustain economic growth in the north, and improve the health and well-being of their regions. I am sure you will read the report with great interest.”

The economy is one thing but the right infrastructure has to be in place. Northern Gas explains its role

The role of utilities

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, who hosted the launch of the report at the House of Com-mons, said: “We have an expectation that when we turn on our taps that water will come out, turn the central heating on and our homes will become warm or flick a switch that the lights will come on, and rightly so.

“But as we will hear, it is time we as leaders be more mindful of how we can work with those who supply our energy and water to make sure our investments get the best outcomes for our communi-ties. Clearly, together we can make our region even stronger.” lTo read the full report or get involved visit:


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00 MONTH 2014 | NEW STATESMAN | 11

As a millennial graduate working at a young technology company that has achieved double-digit growth

since relocating to the north-east in 2011 (after being founded in London in 2007), I fly in the face of the commentators who line up to declare “skills shortage” and “brain drain” pandemics in the north.

I have had the pleasure of working for multinational brands in the big city and elsewhere; however, I voluntarily “boo-meranged” back to my home region of the north-east in 2014 in search of a bet-ter quality of life, bringing the skills and experience with me.

And I am not alone. More and more research is finding that millennials (a term used for those reaching maturity in the 2000s) are recognising the appeal of smaller firms, regardless of location. There are a number of reasons for this trend, but I believe the most significant one is quality of life.

Work/life integrationThe millennial generation is becoming wise to the fact that rapid advances in technology are levelling the playing field. It is no longer essential to stay in or relo-cate to London to secure a decent-paying job with exciting career prospects.

In fact, for younger workers, it is get-ting more difficult to obtain a decent-paying job in London (relative to house prices, which have reached an average of £400,000 for first-time buyers), and

especially one that offers exciting career prospects without compromising per-sonal life priorities and goals.

Playing a more significant role in mak-ing a tangible difference to a growing company is seen as more rewarding and fulfilling than working for a big brand and being a small cog in a big machine.

Similarly, a favourable cost of living and lush landscapes and scenery are becom-ing central for a millennial’s concept of a good quality of life. The north suddenly becomes appealing . . .

Talent attraction and retention of mil-lennial and succeeding generations is going to make or break the ambitions for a Northern Powerhouse (especially here in the north-east, the region that most of-ten gets neglected in discussions about a Northern Powerhouse).

It is up to companies, and not politi-cians (who recently announced a relo-cation of the Department for Business, Innovative and Skills’s Northern Power-house office from Sheffield to London . . .) to make employment opportunities flex-ible and exciting, so that younger talent can integrate, rather than balance work and life priorities.

A powerhouse of power-usersThe usage of collaboration tools is ex-ploding. Usage of the top four messenger apps has overtaken the usage of the top four social networks, some commenta-tors believe by up to 20 per cent.

Smarter working habits are needed to build the Northern Powerhouse, says Sean Ball, marketing executive at Forfusion Ltd

Something we do, not somewhere we go

Workers of all ages, not just millen-nials, are coming to expect to have the same ability to collaborate with one an-other for work as they do in their personal lives. This is so that they can work flex-ibly, spending less time commuting or in an office without compromising on their productivity or efficiency.

If northern organisations fail to meet these needs, workers will either go out and use unsecured consumer apps such as WhatsApp or Slack – or, worse, leave!

As a disruptive technology company, Forfusion practises what it preaches. Its flexible working policy is at the very heart of our dynamic, socially responsible and innovative culture. We’ve designed what is known as a Unified Communications and Collaboration infrastructure, so that we can enable better work/life integra-tion with our office-based colleagues, as well as access new talent pools outside of our north-east region.

If we are serious about making the Northern Powerhouse a reality and not just a political soundbite, we all need to think about how we can make employ-ment opportunities desirable to the future generations. This means rethinking the conventional nine-to-five, office-based notion of work. lTo find out more about how Forfusion canhelp your organisation work smarter by utilising new technology solutions, Or email: [emailprotected]


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The Institute of Directors has a clear stance on the concept of the Northern Powerhouse; we sup-port it. In a survey last year, 65 per cent of our members nation-

ally voted in favour of the idea, with 71 per cent of business leaders in the north advo-cating the concept.

We have now, however, reached a piv-otal point where all of the talk must re-sult in some substance. We have to begin to see tangible results that demonstrate a rebalanced economy, with accelerated growth beyond the south-east.

Primarily that means dividing politics from facts. Ministers are telling us it’s go-ing well and we have definitely seen pro-gressive actions and great support – in-cluding devolution and the introduction of elected mayors in some northern cities, but there’s a long way to go.

We have had the photo opportunities and the headlines. Now it’s time for ac-tion, harnessing real potential, generating momentum and garnering the support of business leaders to ensure that substantial change begins to occur.

For me, that means giving the northern

cities the power to find their role at both the domestic and the global level, re-es-tablishing the north’s former prominence when it was a powerhouse of the 19th-century economy.

Although the specific elements of the Northern Powerhouse plan are impor-tant, I and the broader IoD membership prefer to assess the Northern Powerhouse in its entirety, through a business lens.

It is up to organisations, their leaders and business networks such as the IoD to drive the concept in the first instance. Crucially, we must work together across each northern town and city to ensure that the Northern Powerhouse is greater than the sum of its parts.

The IoD supports and is a member of Business North, recently launched as a group, comprising senior industry lead-ers from across northern England to drive forward the agenda for the North-ern Powerhouse.

The results we achieve must eclipse what individual towns can achieve on their own. That is perhaps another chal-lenge; northern cities have deep-rooted histories and competitiveness that can

Peter Radcliffe, chair of the Institute of Directors in Liverpool, outlines his powerhouse wish list

What happens next

prevent the optimum level of harmoni-ous working processes across the en-tire region. However, look carefully at those cities and there are fine examples of remarkable industries and businesses which collectively can make the Northern Powerhouse a reality.

We already have a “powerhouse” rep-utation in some sectors. The BBC-led regeneration in Salford has led to a clus-tering effect, with a media powerhouse developing around it. Manchester has a plethora of industries to call its own.

Lancashire-based corporations are key to the energy and renewables sector. Cumbria has an investment pipeline of circa £25bn in the next decade, creating more than 30,000 jobs and an additional £1.3bn per annum to regional GVA.

In short, it’s about exploiting these vast assets.

The IoD has many hopes for the North-ern Powerhouse. Consistency is our pri-mary concern; devolution, for example, is an important contribution, but imme-diately it means there’s a lack of cohesion, as some cities have devolved powers and some don’t. The idea of devolved powers

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Dockside development will open up waterfronts and expand the region’s potential

has been well received by IoD members, with just 8 per cent of business leaders within our national membership opposed to the idea.

Transport seems to be the biggest talk-ing point – 78 per cent of our members in northern regions voted that this is the area in which cities should be given additional power. But while the dialogue remains crucial on improving the passenger trans-port infrastructure (speed, ease of access and capacity), I’m as concerned about the freight transport opportunities.

My role at the IoD is to support busi-nesses in the Liverpool city region and its long-standing prowess as an important port is something the north can exploit – but only if significant transport invest-ment allows the swift and easy move-ment of cargo around the region to access the 35 million people closer to Liverpool than the southern ports.

Liverpool2 is a new deep-water con-tainer terminal that can accommodate 95 per cent of the global container vessel fleet, thus creating the capacity to handle the next generation of container ships. It will empower the Port of Liverpool to be

the UK’s national gateway and transship-ment hub for Ireland and the Atlantic.

Transport is a classic example of an area where spend and growth are greater in London. A 2014 research report by IPPR showed that Londoners receive £5,203 per head more capital expenditure than the north. Crossrail alone is earmarked

to receive nine times more funding than all the rail projects from the north’s three regions combined.

Furthermore, an SPREI report pub-lished last August suggested that overall infrastructure investment in London, such as communications, transport and utilities combined, reached £45bn, or £5,305 for each resident. This compares with £1,946 per head in the north-west, £851 in Yorkshire and Humberside, and just £414 per head in the north-east – the lowest of any English region.

All of this leads me to believe that the north is faced with an almost impossible task if it doesn’t have the right resources or mishandles the devolved powers. Our member research reinforces this; 62 per cent of IoD members in the north are concerned that devolution would lead to higher taxes and 61 per cent thought it would increase the cost of tax compli-ance, showing that business leaders’ sup-port for devolution is not a blank cheque to ramp up taxes and spending.

The majority are in support of devolved transport, education, skills, housing and planning powers. Infrastructure in the broadest sense appears to be the priority for business leaders. These statistics are true for directors in the northern cities; 62 per cent of business leaders want north-ern authorities given power over educa-tion, while 77 per cent want housing and planning powers increased in cities.

It is also important to consider the need for “positive discrimination” to favour the north against other parts of the UK and create “competitive specialisation” allowing cities to focus better on their strengths and build up particular sector expertise. This is especially relevant for ar-eas such as R&D, science, innovation and technology, including the digital sector.

My final wish for the Northern Power-house – and it’s a big ask – is that it doesn’t result in achievements that northern cit-ies would have attained regardless, espe-cially those with devolved powers.

The north will accomplish much over the next few years. Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, for example, are great cities with already established strong assets. I believe that, with or without the Northern Powerhouse, they will contribute signifi-cantly to the growth of the UK economy.

The Northern Powerhouse, if success-ful, will significantly boost this potential and help us secure even more achieve-ments for the region than would have been possible without it. What is impera-tive, therefore, is that we see a Northern Powerhouse that adds even more value; a rebalanced economy and investment that promotes prosperity and wealth, crucial-ly driven from the north.

Everyone in business or simply resident in northern cities has to believe that the north as a whole means something. With the combined northern regional economy standing at almost £300bn, we simply cannot be ignored. l

The north can exploit Liverpool’s prowess as

an important port

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Can we really create the Northern Powerhouse? It’s a question that in-spires debate not only in the region,

but across the whole country. Some say it’s achievable, some say it will never be-come a reality and the rest don’t know what it means. For me, the message is clear; if government, businesses and local authorities can co-operate and collaborate we can create a northern economy to rival London. Transport – and especially rail – is an essential component for helping to create the Northern Powerhouse and help the north’s economy to grow.

It can’t be built on the back of isolated communities, all trying to make it on their own. They need improved connec-tivity across an integrated transport sys-tem to bring the great towns and cities of the north closer together.

In April the new TransPennine Express franchise will begin, with its vision of taking the north further. More than half a billion pounds will be invested during the new franchise to transform the inter-city rail network across the north of Eng-land and Scotland.

That means new trains, faster journeys, more seats and better integration across all transport modes. These improvements will lay the foundation of the North-ern Powerhouse, but they can’t take all of the weight. To realise this vision, to

make the billions of pounds in private and government investment worthwhile, we also need to shift some of the focus to promoting growth in skills and learn-ing in the north. Without the proper skill base, the economy in the north will lack the competitive edge it needs in order to grow and prosper.

The transport industry has a responsi-bility to work together; to improve con-nectivity; to create seamless ticketing op-tions and to increase the ease of moving customers between trains, buses, trams and airports, but at the same time so do businesses. The private sector has a vital role to play in making sure this generation and the next has opportunities to enhance their skills and training.

Without a focus on learning we won’t witness the north grow, but watch our smart, talented youngsters continue their pilgrimage to the south-east. An econom-ically strong north requires the skills to move it forward and key to this is helping the next generation into jobs and training.

For TransPennine Express, that in-cludes boosting our apprenticeship and graduate intakes. From April we will be expanding our apprenticeship and gradu-ate programme across a range of business areas. Over the next few years we will take on 36 apprentices, a threefold in-crease in our intake.

The Northern Powerhouse will become real only if the transport infrastructure is right, argues the TransPennine Express managing director designate, Leo Goodwin

The railway connection

We will also be working with local col-leges to make sure our apprentices com-plete relevant and recognised qualifica-tions during the programme. It’s this type of collaboration that needs to be strength-ened. Businesses throughout the north have a responsibility to work alongside our higher education facilities and uni-versities to create better job prospects and training opportunities for people in the north. So much can be achieved if busi-nesses, educational institutions and local authorities across the north expand be-yond their local areas when looking for these partnerships.

There is a political will to help build this great northern economy and, most importantly, strong investment that will help realise it. With the devolution of powers which is now under way, money is flowing through to the local authori-ties and finally northerners are deciding where it should be spent.

This creates additional opportunity for the north, and the public and private sec-tors alike should acknowledge their role and responsibilities.

Infrastructure may lie at the heart of a Northern Powerhouse, but it will also take collaboration and determination to develop the skills needed for the north to achieve its true potential. lFor more info visit:


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Connectivity is crucial to the way we live. But the speed of our ability to share information, news and views

has been radically transformed by the in-ternet, the smartphone and on-the-move demand for wifi. Communication on a vast scale is now instant – the click of a button . . . or the post of a tweet. Anything, therefore, that prohibits or slows that down in the modern world is at best an inconvenience, at worst critical to many business decisions. Equally, our ability to connect quickly face to face when travel-ling vast distances has improved hugely in the past century.

Trains have been the powerhouse of that revolution and will continue to be. There is no other transport system that can pro-vide nearly door-to-door service so sus-tainably, moving large numbers of people, or vast quantities of goods, so quickly. The north was the birthplace of the locomotive with Stephenson’s Rocket and now has a great opportunity once again to drive the Northern Powerhouse through transport and digital connectivity.

At a time of unprecedented change in local governance for England’s north-ern territories, including local enterprise partnerships, devolution and the prospect of regional mayors, the pace of political change is for once almost rivalling digi-tal evolution. The government is keen to rebalance the national economy, creating greater autonomy for the northern re-gions, harnessing its talent and skills.

But in order for us to maximise this potential fully and fully utilise the great

resources we already possess, we need to improve the speed, capacity and connec-tivity of the journey time between our key conurbations. This will enable the agglomeration of skills and resource – creating a critical mass that is greater than the sum of its parts.

The north region, roughly speaking, stretches east from Liverpool across to Hull and then north to Newcastle, includ-ing the vital city regions of Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds, and comprises a hot-bed of creativity and economic innova-tion. But trying to get from Liverpool to Hull quickly by any form of transport is a challenge. By train, it takes nearly three hours. It’s quicker to get to Paris from Lon-don – though Liverpool to Hull is roughly half the distance!

It is clear, then, that we have some hurdles with our speed of travel, but by improving train travel in its widest sense – speed, capacity and digital connectiv-ity – we have the very best opportunity to close the gaps. HS2 will go some way to improving connections between the northern territories and London, but what about between the northern territories themselves? The need for a cross-Pennine service that can reduce such painfully long train journey times has never been greater.

At Nomad Digital, we believe that busi-nesses have a vital part to play in influenc-ing future decisions on a joined-up, inte-grated and effective rail service, through supporting local and national government and sharing business acumen and exper-tise. In the north-east of England we are

The economy is increasingly connected, says Andrew Taylor, CEO of Nomad Digital, but is every region?

The north can close the connectivity gap

at the cutting edge of this digital revolu-tion with innovative start-ups and estab-lished, world-leading companies working in digital, communications, video, gaming and software.

Nomad Digital was started with a hand-ful of people in Newcastle back in 2002, where the global headquarters remains. It now employs nearly 300. Businesses such as ours now thriving in the north-east have a strong pedigree of pioneering inno-vation that taps in to the era of our indus-trial forefathers Stephenson and Swan, and the communications technology we are introducing for the rail industry here today continues that tradition.

Empowering a more connected passen-ger is a vital part of that transport discus-sion for the north and business experts in that field can support that debate. But let’s not forget freight. Facilitating more effi-cient, reliable and safe movement of goods using real-time, on-train diagnostics will support the supply of vital products – na-tionally and internationally.

The region has great potential. Com-bine the north-east’s undoubted digital strengths with Manchester’s media skills, with the offshore strength of Hull and the creative industry in Liverpool, and you get a powerful engine of economic pro-ductivity. Bring these various strengths closer together, face-to-face, and virtually through better digital connectivity, and we can establish the north as a truly global powerhouse again. lTo find out more visit:


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The north of England has a popula-tion of 16 million people – larger than that of London and almost on a par with the Netherlands. This region currently contributes

£290bn to the UK economy and is home to countless successful businesses as well as world-renowned universities.

The north has enormous economic po-tential, which can be unlocked by bring-ing the large economies of the north closer together, through transformed networks of connectivity.

TfN’s role is to bring together local transport authorities across the north of England to allow the north to speak with a single voice to government on the big transport decisions that will benefit the whole region.

Our shared vision is to build on the existing strengths of the north to create a vibrant and growing economic region that retains and attracts the brightest talent; acts as a magnet for inward investment; and which becomes one of the world’s most competitive economies, playing host

to innovative companies that succeed in the global marketplace.

In March 2015 TfN and the government produced a joint report on the Northern Transport Strategy. This report set out an ambitious vision for enhanced connec-tivity to drive economic growth. This is a long-term aspiration and our work to-wards it is gathering pace.

Over the past year, the focus has been on the development of the strategy, to identify future investment priorities and to start putting in place plans for the fu-ture of northern transport.

This work includes plans to transform rail connectivity, improve the north’s strategic roads network, ensure the ef-ficient movement of freight, to consider priorities for improving local and region-al connectivity and for smart ticketing across the north.

All of this work will inform the North-ern Transport Strategy and we will be publishing an update in March 2016.

In his comprehensive Spending Re-view in November 2015, the Chancellor

John Cridland, the first independent chair of Transport for the North (TfN) and former director general of the Confederation of British Industry, gives an overview

of TfN and describes the vision for a Northern Powerhouse

Transports of delight

pledged £50m in funding for TfN over this parliament. These funds help to en-sure the future certainty of the organisa-tion and will allow TfN to drive forward its agenda, and in autumn 2015 we pro-duced an interim report to update the Treasury on progress.

In addition, a further £150m has been allocated to allow TfN to accelerate our programme to deliver smart and integrat-ed travel for the region.

In our March report, we will set out an implementation plan for the introduction of these improvements. We will focus on the opportunities for the whole of the re-gion, working with our regional partners to link existing schemes and help to ensure enhanced connectivity for passengers.

We have also been working closely with the National Infrastructure Com-mission and recently submitted to the commission’s call for evidence to make recommendations on northern transport interventions.

The commission will be publishing its report this spring, which will put forward

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Full steam ahead: Rail North will assume many of central government’s oversight responsibilities for northern rail services

recommendations to central government on infrastructure priorities that will im-prove east-west connectivity in the north of England.

TfN has unique oversight of the bigger picture of transport connectivity, and by working with our regional partners, local business leaders and the national trans-port bodies through the TfN Partnership Board we are able to build a plan to opti-mise transport links.

The Northern Transport Strategy will underpin future investment in northern infrastructure and will act as the ground-work to ensure that funds are prioritised and that work takes place on the projects that will really benefit the north.

We are also increasing engagement with leading stakeholders: a crucial part of my work over the past few months has been to meet with politicians and busi-ness leaders to ensure that TfN is repre-senting the interests of northern industry.

In conjunction with strategy work, Transport for the North has been grow-ing towards statutory status in 2017. Pre-

viously a partnership organisation with each of the authorities lending resource to drive forward a shared agenda, TfN is now working to establish a core team to accel-erate our ambitious programme.

Key to this core team is our chief execu-tive, David Brown, who joined from his

role as chief executive of Merseytravel in October 2015. With my appointment and interim office space in Manchester, TfN is growing quickly to enable the organisa-tion to realise our vision.

Long term, our ambition is for TfN to become the commissioning authority for transport in the north and statutory sta-tus will grant TfN powers to co-ordinate and oversee the delivery of ambitious and transformational cross-northern trans-port investments, by developing plans

and commissioning and co-ordinating their delivery. We don’t want to replicate the work under way at a local level, but through our unique position and strategic oversight, TfN will be well placed to ad-vise on investment priorities.

Rail North, the organisation respon-sible for the northern rail franchises, will become the franchising arm of TfN and statutory status will grant TfN the opportunity to develop further the role and powers of Rail North, devolving greater responsibility from the govern-ment for oversight for the northern and trans-Pennine rail services.

It’s early days for the programme, but so far I have been impressed by the huge support and consensus for change.

On a cross-party, cross-industry, pan-northern level, people share our vision and want to drive forward our pro-gramme, making this an exciting time for transport and for the north. l

For further information on TfN, visit:

I’ve been impressed by the huge support and

consensus for change

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Education and skills have seen waves of major structural change since the 1850s, and the education and skills

sector in the UK is now entering another phase. While this is nothing new, we need to consider how things are chang-ing and how organisations like us need to change their stance to accommodate it.

A number of things are combining to create this next wave. The first is the devolved nature of government and the creation of the mechanisms to support the northern economy (and, indeed, the Northern Powerhouse project itself).

Second is the environment of auster-ity. Politics aside, it is incumbent on the institutions to develop more for less and close some of the gaps. Third is the need for employers to become much more engaged and for the institutions to be closer to them than they have been before, supporting their skills and training needs over the next five to ten years.

So there is a perfect storm of factors leading to inevitable change, and we need to take proactive steps to shape this new landscape.

We envisage that in the future there will be larger, more efficient groups, made up of organisations close to their individ-ual learners and communities, benefiting from high-quality group services.

This month we launched LTE group, the first integrated education and skills group

in the UK. LTE brings together the Man-chester College, offering further educa-tion, higher education and apprentice-ships; Total People, focusing on workplace learning; MOL, which offers professional qualifications; and Novus, our organisation working in the justice sector and helping those furthest from the workforce.

LTE group allows each of our special-ist organisations greater focus on its own learners, customers, stakeholders and communities. Whether someone is a learner or an employer, or perhaps some-one who is involved in setting up the Northern Powerhouse scheme, the group will support people, from professional to Master’s-level qualifications, from GCSE to first degrees delivered in partnership with universities.

We are also an integrated social enter-prise: any profit or surplus made will be reinvested in public projects. It’s a chari-table organisation and we are keen to rein-vest our profit for the public good.

LTE group employs about 5,000 peo-ple, providing education, training and employment to 100,000 diverse learners. We also work with some 3,000 employ-ers around the UK with various appren-ticeship schemes. Employers are telling us they need a more flexible workforce, so we are looking at supporting the develop-ment of these skills; in our experience this fosters loyalty in the employee as well.

Education and skills are important parts of the Northern Powerhouse project. So how does it need to evolve for 2016? John Thornhill, CEO of LTE group, explains

A brand new skills and training toolkit

The timing is good because the gov-ernment is asking for more investment in skills from employers, whether in ac-countancy and finance or other areas, such as developing a 21st-century manu-facturing workforce with pathways to chartered engineer status. Employers are asking how their workforce development will be affected by the apprentice levy, so we are having broader conversations about this and resourcing solutions.

Meanwhile “Generation Y” is enter-ing the workforce considering a portfolio career, perhaps fulfilling five or six roles until their mid-forties. This is changing the role of the educator and the whole sec-tor will have to change as a result.

I believe that LTE group will allow us to respond positively to external challenges. We now have the opportunity to support and shape the development of how edu-cation and skills are delivered at a local, re-gional and national level. LTE group will help us to do this by giving us the flexibil-ity to adapt to future opportunities and future needs of the economy.

The feedback from learners, employers and elected representatives suggests we are meeting a lot of needs. It has proven an excellent start and we aim to offer a model for other establishments, with benefits to the wider community through the social enterprise as well. lFor more info visit:


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Yorkshire’s Robin Hood Airport Don-caster Sheffield has big aspirations and is close to seeing a £56m private-

and public-funded new link road open to the public, widening its catchment by more than one million potential passen-gers living within 60 minutes’ travel.

Connectivity is key to economic com-petitiveness, and the airport can play a part within the UK’s long-term aviation needs.

Steve Gill, managing director of Don-caster Sheffield Airport, said: “We are just weeks away from the opening of the Finningley and Rossington Regen-eration Route Scheme (FARRRS) Airport Link road, which will deliver greatly en-hanced connectivity to the UK’s fourth-largest city. The Sheffield City region’s airport will be placed within minutes of the UK’s major motorway network and bring global business closer to Sheffield’s £28bn economy.”

The new road could lead to the creation of 20,000 jobs, £1.5bn of inward invest-ment, the creation of 1,200 new homes and the development of a £400m iPort.

“For the first time, Doncaster Shef-field Airport will be the closest airport for those in the Sheffield City Region travel-ling to some of Europe’s largest econo-mies and destinations worldwide via two European Hubs (Paris and Amsterdam) alongside connectivity to North America via Dublin with Aer Lingus,” Gill added.

This investment and development is helping to strengthen the Northern Pow-erhouse and Doncaster Sheffield Airport’s owner, the Peel Group, has announced

its strong support for the Northern Pow-erhouse, and urged public- and private-sector partners to work together to deliver the shared ambition for rebalancing the UK economy through significant growth in the north.

Peel has a proven track record in pio-neering regeneration in the north during the past 25 years, with total investments of over £5bn, supporting 70,000 jobs. There is an additional commitment of £1bn of investment under way, in partner-ship with others.

Recently the Peel Group announced Aero Centre Yorkshire, which represents the vast range of development opportuni-ties now available surrounding Doncaster Sheffield Airport, attracting inward in-vestment and job creation to the heart of the Sheffield City region.

“The 1,600-acre site, which is already home to the UK’s fastest-growing airport outside London, Doncaster Sheffield Air-port, is already made up of a wide range of office, warehousing and distribution unit opportunities including a 62-acre business park and ten hectares of enter-prise zone,” said Gill.

The new road and the development of Aero Centre Yorkshire reflects the Peel Group’s strategy set out in the masterplan to maximise the potential of the whole airport site in order to provide for the growth of air services and make Doncaster Sheffield Airport a major hub for passen-ger, cargo and general aviation activities.

The airport is celebrating a record-break-ing year for cargo, as 2015 saw the most

Regional airports are key to solving the UK’s capacity crisis and have great potential to grow, given the right infrastructure and ambition, says Peel Airports Management

Growth is in the air

tonnage of freight handled since the airport opened in 2005, managing consignments across the globe, including Nepal, Kenya, Venezuela, the US and key European des-tinations such as Greece and France.

The airport’s impressive 2,893-metre runway has enabled an increase in large movements, including B747s, AN225 and AN124s. The tonnage of consignments in and out of the airport shows that growth in this area is going from strength to strength and is evidence that the airport’s cargo terminal is enhancing its reputation around the world.

There are already many successful busi-nesses operating on the site. The hangars at Aero Centre Yorkshire are home to a Cessna service centre offering a compre-hensive service for citation jets including upgrades, repairs, maintenance, overhaul and parts support.

This year will be huge for Doncaster Sheffield Airport; 2015 saw the launch of new flights to Dublin with Aer Lingus and the announcement of a major deal with Flybe which will lead to over 40 new flights a week.

In 2016 the airport link road will open, and from March the new Flybe routes, including two major European hub air-ports, will be operational.

This means that Doncaster Sheffield Airport will be experiencing double-digit growth in 2016, with the additional seats expected to take passenger figures from 900,000 in 2015 to 1.35 million in 2016. lTo find out more visit:


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A region heralded for its pioneers in the past, from George Stephenson and his development of the first

railway service to the inventor of the light bulb, Sir Joseph Swan, now has a new breed of forward-thinking visionar-ies whose entrepreneurial spirit has seen the number of technology companies in the region soar.

In the 2015 Tech Nation report, it was stated that the north has witnessed a 30 per cent growth in incorporated tech businesses between 2010 and 2013.

The sector contributes £600m annu-ally to the regional economy and by 2020, with the number of software firms in the region likely to exceed 2,200, that figure may reach £1.1bn, according to the north-east local enterprise partnership Smart Spec report. These businesses are in the next wave of companies based in the north-east with an entrepreneurial desire to grow across multiple regions.

The growth of the industry reflects the changing trends that challenge businesses in the 21st century. As we live in an in-creasingly digital world, data has become the lifeblood of any organisation. Com-panies have identified that the need to manage, store and retrieve their business

data securely is critical not only to the prosperity but also to the survival of their business. With this in mind, companies are beginning to embrace emerging tech-nologies such as cloud computing and data hosting.

The region now boasts some of the fast-est-growing tech firms in the UK, includ-ing Sage Group, the world’s third-largest supplier of enterprise resource planning software, and the cloud and managed services provider Onyx Group, a pioneer in the field and famed for opening the first ISO27001-accredited data centre in the world (in Newcastle). Onyx was also among the first providers of business-to-business broadband in the mid-1990s and has now expanded throughout the UK.

The decline of the manufacturing trade has resulted in businesses gaining access to cost-effective land space on former in-dustrial sites, making the region a highly attractive prospect for emerging and es-tablished organisations. This, coupled with the availability of a large and highly skilled workforce, aided by the universi-ties of Newcastle, Northumbria, Dur-ham, Sunderland and Teesside, has also attracted foreign investment into the re-gion, witnessed in 2015, when the French

The north-east is synonymous with Britain’s manufacturing heritage and played a pivotal role intheIndustrial Revolution, which took the UK to the forefront of economic progress from the 18th century. But in the changing landscape since 2000, the region’s future has been shaped not by heavy industry but a growing digital arena, says Neil Stephenson, CEO of Onyx Group

IT’s great up north

computer firm Ubisoft, the world’s third-largest publisher of video games, selected Newcastle-upon-Tyne as its base for a new customer relationship centre serving Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Investment into the region has led to the launch of the Cloud Innovation Cen-tre in Newcastle, a £2m joint initiative between Newcastle University’s Digital Institute and Newcastle City Council that helps equip regional businesses with the skills and tools necessary to exploit the benefits of cloud technologies and big data analytics. The region has also witnessed the launch of Sunderland’s Software City, part financed by the European Regional Development Fund, which is now home to over 60 tech firms, including many members of the Dynamo initiative, a clus-ter of regional IT enterprises dedicated to achieving national and international recognition for excellence in delivering IT software and services.

With Britain’s technology sector poised to grow four times faster than GDP in 2016 alone, the stage is set for a north-east digital revolution to power forward. lFor more information on Onyx and its arrayof cloud and data hosting services, please visit:


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As the blueprint for the “Great North Plan” begins to take shape, it is es-sential that we start to understand

and digest the size and complexity of the challenges ahead. One of the main pri-orities for the Northern Powerhouse is to improve connectivity, and transport infrastructure is firmly at the centre of this transformational strategy. With this come sizeable challenges.

Defining the objectives and the suc-cess criteria for these significant projects needs to be a top priority for Transport for the North. The temptation to start work on projects before they have been fully defined must be avoided at all costs. Experience shows that eventual suc-cess (or failure) depends as much on the robustness of project and programme definition as on the quality of execution. Well-defined requirements will ensure the delivery of an optimal result, where post-contract changes are reduced and ef-ficient execution of the works is assured.

It is important to note that a third of all projects fail to deliver their desired outcomes, and, independent of sector, the same reasons for project failure are frequently cited. However, within the context of improving transport in the north, we are not just talking about dis-crete project delivery. When we look at the significant undertakings that will

have to be achieved in delivering the transport infrastructure improvements that will underpin the “One North” vision, there will need to be a well- defined masterplan. Managing these significant undertakings will succeed only if all the interdependencies, inter-relationships, constraints and oppor-tunities for the most efficient delivery are fully understood and managed as a strategic portfolio.

Successfully administering and con-trolling significant projects and pro-grammes on this scale requires an inte-grated strategy that provides a clear view of interdependencies between projects.

Ownership and responsibility for overseeing the portfolio is essential in ensuring that decisions about whether, and how, an individual project should proceed are based on the project’s impact on the portfolio’s value and risk. This oversight allows the projects to be organised according to priority, in order to maximise the efficiencies a fully informed and committed supply chain is able to offer.

There are two dimensions to measur-ing success in a project: whether the pro-ject is delivered on time, to budget and to scope; and whether the project achieves its objectives. In assuring this, appropriate governance must be put in

Transport is essential and the infrastructure is even more so, says Paul Knighting, director of project controls at Sweett Group

Assuring transport infrastructure

place, focusing on the portfolio direc-tion, appropriate and accountable project sponsorship, disclosure and reporting and project management capability.

In delivering these significant infra-structure projects there is a critical chal-lenge around people, jobs and skills. The skills required to deliver the proposed schemes do not currently exist at the vol-ume that is required.

Significant and meaningful invest-ment is required “at pace”, with 224,000 jobs expected to be created within the construction industry by 2019 – almost 30,000 jobs by HS2 alone. Apprentice-ships and high-quality training need to be put in place now if we are to meet the increase in demand successfully.

Sweett Group has the appropriately skilled project management profession-als and project and programme leaders, who are accomplished in the delivery of transport infrastructure projects and programmes, and who have substantial experience in portfolio management. We also continue to invest significantly in re-cruitment, training and apprenticeships across our diverse range of services. This ensures the group is well placed in the market for the challenges of tomorrow. lFor more about Sweett Group visit: or email: [emailprotected]


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Northern Powerhouse - [PDF Document] (22)

22 | NEW STATESMAN | 19-25 FEBRUARY 2016


It is easy to see the Northern Pow-erhouse as a means to test the pa-tience of the Labour councillors in the north. Is George Osborne just kidding them into thinking he can

do something about our blighted post-industrial landscape?

Osborne says he wants to see a new wave of manufacturing capability. The UK has, for far too long, relied primar-ily on services and finances. But we need the Northern Powerhouse, and a reboot of our manufacturing sector, not only to rebalance the economy but also to ensure that aspiration and opportunity reach everyone.

It is an unlikely pledge, an industrial strategy by another name. But if Cam-eron is the “heir to Blair”, then Osborne is a self-confessed “son of Heseltine”, the Tory grandee who knew that the re-gions as well as London must be strong. The Chancellor also knows that, however much he may rely on market forces, only government can open the opportunities that will allow this nation to renew its skills base at the scale we need.

How can the Northern Powerhouse work?

First, it can work because the north is not simply councils and companies but home to a combination of science, engineering and research facilities in universities that can match anything in the south. The nation has invested in crucial parts of re-search and innovation in our northern

universities, and they are ready to serve as brains of this new industrial revolution.

Second, it can work because Osborne wants to invest in skills. In the north, there are droves of young people desper-ate to train as apprentices, and a tradition of skilled craftsmanship going back hun-dreds of years.

These are no second-rate options. In the north, there is a keen sense that, from ad-vanced metals to big data, from graphene to composites for aerospace engineering, young people who immerse themselves in world-leading advanced manufactur-ing apprenticeships with progressive companies will not just have secure jobs, they will help shape our future.

This is why when the Chancellor signed one of his Northern Devolution Deals it mattered that he did so where he did. On the Orgreave site where Arthur Scargill led his members from the National Un-ion of Mineworkers as police clashed with them, Labour leaders signed a deal with a Conservative chancellor, having already seen that a transformation in the north’s fortunes was possible.

The Chancellor’s host at the devolution event was Professor Keith Ridgway. In a little over a decade he has transformed this site of industrial decline into the foremost manufacturing innovation centre in the UK and, arguably, the world. Partnering with Boeing, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and a hundred supply-chain companies, what began as a collaborative centre of re-

The Northern Powerhouse has been a Conservative initiative – but Professor Keith Burnett, CBE FRS, vice-chancellor of the

University of Sheffield, sees it more broadly

Northern Powerhouse,

northern politics?

search into metals and machining is now a major manufacturing research park at the University of Sheffield.

And, alongside it all, there is a top-qual-ity apprentice training centre, in which 600 young people are sponsored by com-panies to get the best manufacturing and engineering education in the world, their academic achievements fully integrated with company success. This is the part that we need to rebalance our society.

So what happened when Osborne met Ridgway, when a chancellor met a working-class Mancunian who became a professor of engineering? It was a case of power meets purpose. The Treasury met a man whom the CEOs of great companies – from Korea to the US – and national labs have come to see as a one-man power-house, determined to create change.

People often want to think purpose in the world comes about as a result of social forces. They think the solution is found in policies and five-year plans. Many people are implicit Marxists.

I am not. I have seen the power of peo-ple, the unparalleled effectiveness of someone who sees a problem and cares enough to drive through change. Some-one bloody-minded enough to believe that a slagheap can become an innovation district, and then make it happen.

Politicians can argue about whether or not these are Labour or Tory values. I like to think they are as near to British values as we can get. l

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The Northern Housing Consortium (NHC), a membership body repre-senting social housing providers and

local government across the north of Eng-land, is pleased and energised to be host-ing the Commission for Housing in the North. The commission brings together 16 commissioners with a collective wealth of experience and expertise, including parliamentarians, representatives from across the housing sector, chief execu-tives of local government with practical understanding of the developing devolu-tion landscape and renowned academics.

The commission seeks to understand the role that housing can and should play in delivering a vibrant and successful Northern Powerhouse.

The commission began its work in the summer of 2015, following the general election, and against the emerging con-cept of the Northern Powerhouse and greater devolution.

The work of the commission has been informed by the evidence given to it by NHC members, our stakeholders and partners, and the views of a range of expert witnesses (updates on the com-mission’s work are at

It is clear from the work of the commis-sion that there is a great opportunity to shape a housing future for the north that properly reflects the nuanced market cir-c*mstances, economic conditions across the region and the aspirations of our resi-

dents. The “housing crisis” faced by the country is often talked about, but perhaps is too often defined within the context of the issues facing London and the wider south east.

This is in no way to underestimate the very real housing issues faced in the capital: it is right and proper that Lon-don is given the tools to solve its housing crisis. But equally, it is right and proper that Manchester, Newcastle and Grimsby have the same capacity to meld policy and investment decisions to meet their needs.

The relationship between housing and economic growth is critical and housing in the north is a core economic asset, as well as a vital part of our infrastructure that should be positioned to play a central role in improving the region’s productiv-ity, balancing the economy and strength-ening local tax bases.

Through the commission, we have heard evidence of the need for places to have a strong economic narrative and leadership to support inward investment, and indeed that there is a “wall of invest-ment” searching for a home – but that investors want confident market condi-tions, security and visibility of delivery and an ability to work smarter and faster.

In a similar vein, we have heard that increasingly businesses recognise the po-tential drag on their productivity if an area does not provide the right housing offer.

There is a variance of market conditions across the north – from booming markets

Housing is a vital area for any regional initiative. The Northern Housing Consortium explains its role in the Powerhouse

Homes on the range

to those where obsolescence is still a huge concern. National housing policy can be a blunt instrument with which to tackle these varied challenges.

The devolved landscape is not yet per-fect – there are no doubt some who doubt the likely success of devolution if it is not supported by an effective rebalancing of financial resources.

However, the NHC believes that it of-fers an opportunity to shape a stronger northern housing future.

The Commission for Housing in the North has heard from NHC members how the sector needs to be more agile to respond to the changing environment and to recalibrate its approach to risk and reward. There is a sense emerging of the need for greater collaboration across the north to bring scale to the innovation that we see happening in cities from Durham to Wakefield.

The Commission for Housing in the North began its work in the summer of 2015 as we were digesting the implications of the summer Budget. It will provide an interim report in March 2016, with a final report due after Easter.

We hope the commission will provide a valuable framework that government (central and local), housing providers, in-vestors and developers can use to ensure that housing contributes to a successful Northern Powerhouse. lTo find out more visit:


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Shaping the future of theNorthern PowerhouseWill you be part of it?

Belfast | Bristol | Edinburgh | Glasgow | London | Manchester

The Northern Powerhouse gives ambitious businesses a chance to shape the future of their local economy. With a strong and rapidly growing presence in Manchester, UK law firm TLT is committed to playing its part in the business community, assisting forward-thinking organisations who want to have their say in the discussion, and helping them to identify and secure new opportunities for growth, as well as protecting their investments.

To ensure businesses’ voices are heard in the wider devolution debate, TLT supported a recent Centre for Cities report, ‘Firm views: the business take on devolution’. To find out more, visit:

Northern Powerhouse - [PDF Document] (2024)
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