BBC Survey Highlights Low Awareness Of The 'Northern Powerhouse'

Lawyers Call On Government To Re-Think Its Wealth-Spreading Agenda

16.11.2015

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

A survey by the BBC has found that the majority of people from the North of England haven’t heard of, or know very little about, the Government’s flagship ‘Northern Powerhouse’ initiative.

Launched almost 18 months ago by the Chancellor George Osborne, the Northern Powerhouse aims to encourage economic prosperity across the North of England and bridge the prosperity gap between the South East and the rest of the UK.

Ideas included in the Northern Powerhouse plan include connecting cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull by electrifying the railways. Announcements have also included greater devolution of city powers and the appointment of elected mayors. 

According to the BBC poll, 64% of adults have never heard of the Northern Powerhouse, or know nothing about it.  Despite the low awareness, half said that they were confident that it will boost the economy of the North.

Earlier this year, Irwin Mitchell conducted a study with leading economic think-tank, the Cebr, into whether the Government’s plans for rebalancing the UK economy will work.

The study, which was called ‘UK Powerhouse’ found that if the current policies were maintained, the gap between the South East and the Northern Powerhouse will get wider by 2025. The report called for a radical rethink within the Government and made a series of recommendations. The report can be downloaded here

Expert Opinion
“I’m quite surprised at the low awareness of the Northern Powerhouse. The Government clearly has a great deal to do to improve the way it has communicated the initiative and also the benefits that are associated with it.

“Our report with Cebr published earlier this year highlighted a number of other interesting issues, particularly in relation to whether George Osborne’s plans will actually work. Tackling the north / south divide isn’t going to be easy and at the moment our study has highlighted that the gap will grow by 27% in the next 10 years.

“The current proposals will improve output and job creation in the north, but not at the same rate as in London. We believe that expansion in London is a positive thing, but we don’t want it to be at the expense of other cities in the UK. A radical rethink is required and our report highlighted a number of policy considerations including greater involvement of businesses in education policy, devolution of Air Passenger Duty in England and the creation of more enterprise hubs around universities.”
Paul Firth, Partner