Budget 2016: Chancellor Shows Renewed Commitment To ‘Northern Powerhouse’

Experts Welcome Osborne’s Bid To Revive Scheme

16.03.2016

Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

Business experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell have welcomed George Osborne’s renewed commitment to the Northern Powerhouse plan, unveiled in today’s Budget announcement.

The Chancellor confirmed the government will find the money to create a four-lane M62 between Leeds and Manchester and will develop the case for a road tunnel from Manchester to Sheffield.

In his speech to the House of Commons, he said: “Last year I established a new National Infrastructure Commission to advise us all on the big long-term decisions we need to boost our productivity. I want to thank Andrew Adonis (chair) and his fellow commissioners for getting off to such a strong start.

“They recommend much stronger links across northern England. So we are giving the green light to High Speed 3 between Manchester and Leeds; finding new money to create a four-lane M62; and will develop the case for a new tunnelled road from Manchester to Sheffield.”

The government also pledged to invest in upgrading the A66 and A69.

The Northern Powerhouse is a pet project of George Osborne to boost economic growth in the North of England.

Mr Osborne added: “I said we would build the Northern Powerhouse. We’ve put in place the mayors. We’re building the roads. We’re laying the track. We’re making the Northern Powerhouse a reality and rebalancing our country.”

Following on from his commitment to improve the infrastructure connecting Northern cities Mr Osborne said the government would invest £20 million a year of new funding in a Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy.

The plan includes a boost in investment to turn round performance in the toughest areas, increasing funding available for turnaround activities, more investment see the best academy chains expand and to develop new sponsors in the North and a new Northern centre of the New Schools Network.

The Government will also ask Sir Nick Weller to lead an in-depth report into transforming education across the Northern Powerhouse.

Expert Opinion
Increasing infrastructure investment to reduce journey times across the north of England is vital if the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is going to succeed. Our own survey of 1,000 business leaders identified that investment in local road and rail was the policy most likely to lead to economic growth mainly because it can go a long way towards improving productivity and broadening an organisation’s talent pool.

Not only should there be a significant increase in infrastructure spending in the north, we also believe that the Government needs to listen to businesses when deciding where its transport hubs should be located. In Sheffield, for example, the Government’s current plan is to locate the HS2 station at Meadowhall even though the financial benefits of it being located in the city centre are expected to be far greater.

We believe that if the Government doesn’t change its mind, it will waste the chance to create 6,500 more jobs and generate up to £2.5bn more income.
Paul Firth, Partner