What is the Northern Powerhouse and how could it boost the economy? « Sum

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What is the Northern Powerhouse and how could it boost the economy?

The Northern Powerhouse proposal refers to the plan put forward designed to boost economic growth across cities in the North of England, developed by the coalition government in 2010-2016 and the conservative government between 2015-2017.


Core cities involved in the plan include Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle, with the idea to grow these economies to better reposition the British economy outside of the South East and London area. From transport link improvements, further investments in STEM and innovation and encouraging investments from overseas to the areas these are just some of the core goals within the Northern Powerhouse plan.

The complete ambition of the project is to bring together the great cities, towns and rural communities located in the North of England and Wales to become a significant power within the wider economy. As a core element within the government’s industrial strategy, the effects of the Northern Powerhouse looks to support businesses across the whole length and breadth of the country as a result and seize the opportunities available as a result of Brexit.

Infrastructure improvements

In order for businesses to pin locations in the North for their next factory, warehouse, head office or satellite offices, the area needs to be able to offer excellent transport options. Improvement of the current transport links and development of future connectivity options are well and truly at the heart of the plans, with connectivity aiming to offer better quality, more reliable and better journeys. This will, in turn, aim to position the North as a more attractive location to work and live for both the public and businesses.

A much-needed investment in Northern roads will see a commitment of £2.9m sunk into the improvements, which will include amends the M60 North West quadrant, alongside the dualling of the A66 in order to improve journey times and reduce congestions.

Additionally, the HS2 is on track to begin work in 2019, with the first trains anticipated to be running by 2026. With the core aim to improve the connections across the UK, making travel between Northern cities and London in particular much quicker and more accessible. It should also boost accessibility to Europe with easier and quicker access to the HS1.

Increased construction demands

With cities such as Leeds seeing rapid expansion and the increasing requirement for new buildings, building companies and quantity surveyors are quickly becoming an in-demand commodity in the North. From university developments to business park expansions and everything in between, including accommodation, entertainment and leisure facilities to accommodate the growing population, development projects are cropping across all major Northern cities.

An increased social and environmental awareness has, in turn, increased demand for experienced quantity surveyors to provide insight and end-to-end project support to ensure that materials are not over-estimated, waste is kept to a minimum and projects can be completed in line with better social and environmental practices.

Skills gap reduction

The Northern Powerhouse movement aims to support the STEM subjects and grow innovation in the Northern regions. As a commitment to supporting science, the plan aims to invest further into advanced research and innovation institutions by proposing initiatives to unlock future medical innovations, build on the existing health science expertise, advance the teaching hospitals in the North and collaborate with a selection of universities. Moreover, an investment of £13m in the new Graphene Institue state-of-the-art development will enable academics and industrial partners to work collaboratively on applications.

Further skills gaps across a whole range of industries may now begin to close with further investment from both UK-based and international businesses moving into the area, bringing with them the prospects for apprenticeships, work experience and further job opportunities.

Finally, the increased and ongoing demand for highly skilled construction and quantity surveying professionals will continue to grow. This will mean that companies will need to look to encourage the younger generations to seek out a career within the industry and by promoting sector specific roles in line with skills sets, interests and future job prospects business can better support in securing the younger, tech-savvy generations in becoming the construction workforce of the future.

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