Powering Ahead with the Northern Powerhouse Plans

Powering Ahead with the Northern Powerhouse Plans

01st February 2017

Back last August we published an article on the Northern Powerhouse and the concerns being felt at the time about what would happen with the Northern Powerhouse post-Brexit.  Some commentators at the time were expressing their worry that plans to boost economic growth in the North of England, especially in the cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.  As part of the North East business community here at Safety Fabrications, this is a subject that’s close to our hearts so we’ve been awaiting developments with bated breath.

Despite worrying headlines from the Financial Times last year that Theresa May would “pull the plug” on the Northern Powerhouse, last week saw some welcome news for all of us “up North”.  Prime Minister, Theresa May unveiled the new government Industrial Strategy with a promise of £556 million being injected into projects across the North of England.  The investment will be poured into projects like a £20 million hotel and conference centre in Blackpool and the Goole Intermodal Terminal.  Some funding will be earmarked for new flood resilience infrastructure (and about time too, considering the weather patterns we’ve seen in recent years).  There is also a plan for a manufacturing park in Sunderland and South Tyneside. 

The full £556 million (which was announced in the Autumn Statement) will be distributed to the eleven Local Enterprise Partnerships in the Northern Powerhouse region.  The Prime Minister has pledged to overhaul technical education in the UK, boost economic growth and increase productivity – ambitious, perhaps and a little optimistic – but this is the welcome news that we’ve been waiting for in this uncertain, post-Referendum time.  May described the Industrial Strategy as a “critical part of our plan for post-Brexit Britain”.  It’s intended that as we leave the European Union, this should result in Britain once more standing tall on the world stage.

This is a comprehensive, long term plan to bolster the economy here in the UK by recognising the areas that can be developed for business and promoting new environments for business to grow.  Investing in the type of infrastructure which will result in business growth and encourage investment in the areas concerned from the private sector. 

All of this was set out by Theresa May in her Plan for Britain on a visit to the North West.  The Institutes of Technology are due to receive capital funding of £170 million in order to provide a powerful and credible alternative to the academic route into industry.  These Institutes will deliver education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (known as STEM subjects) so that those who don’t opt for the university route will still get the same opportunities in future as do graduates.  Thousands of our low quality qualifications will be replaced with 15 core “routes” which will be decided according to the requirements of industry..  We need young people with the skills required to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future so promoting technical education is vital for the country and the economy in the future.

We’ll be bringing you more news in the coming weeks of the government’s plans and how they are likely to shape and affect the construction industry, so watch this space.