Former Chancellor Osborne to chair the Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Former Chancellor Osborne to chair the Northern Powerhouse Partnership

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer will be chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, an independent group including politicians and business leaders.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership is an independent not-for-profit group, which includes politicians and business leaders and aims to secure greater powers and investment for the region to boost jobs and growth.

The heavily on business focused board includes Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, Mark Reynolds, chief executive of international construction company, Mace, Tony Walsh, head of north, corporate banking at Barclays and James Cooper, Associated British Ports (ABP).

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Over the next few weeks, they’re aiming to add more business figures to the board.

Speaking to MEN, said the new partnership will identify a range of new opportunities in different sectors in the area.

This is going back to the very basics of the Northern Powerhouse in terms of its aims which is about investment, skills, education, infrastructure, it’s about creating opportunities in all those areas.”

“Transport lies at the foundation of every successful economy and whilst connecting the north to the est of the world is crucial part of the equation, it is also imperative that the region is better connected with itself.”

The partnership was launched at Manchester Town Hall two weeks ago and Mr Osborne said the Government was now 100% committed to the Power of the North, despite any short-lived uncertainty after the Brexit vote.

The initiative, launched by Osborne in 2014, experienced a rocky path when Theresa May arrived at 10 Downing Street two months ago. Rather than focusing on the North, the new Prime Minister preferred to speak of a broadening of a new, nationwide industrial strategy.

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Mr Osborne, however, confirmed at the recent launch that the PM as well as the Secretary of State of Communities and Local Government are both on board.

Mr Osborne said:

They thought about the Northern Powerhouse but they have now committed to it, Theresa May has committed to it, Sajid Javid has committed to it, and across the Government, of course, people whose previous roles they had were also involved in building the Northern Powerhouse, so there’s national Government helping.”

Business organisations across the region have also welcomed the new think tank.

Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, said:

We warmly welcome a new think-tank focused on the North of England. IPPR North has long argued that to make the North the most progressive place in Europe, we need more policy ideas, not fewer.

“This can only reinforce the reality that the Northern Powerhouse is far less a Whitehall programme and far more an initiative driven by northern business, innovation and leadership.

“It remains to be seen whether this new think-tank will develop an inclusive approach to the Northern economy because to date, George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse has been too narrowly focused on big cities and metro mayors – vital as these are, they will not address the economic and social challenges raised by the Brexit vote.”

John Ashcroft, CEO of pro-manchester, said:

The Northern Powerhouse will feature as one of the key themes of the pro-manchester Manchester China Conference next month. We believe the focus of the Northern Powerhouse agenda should be on Transport Infrastructure and Telecommunications. Important in the development programme are HS2, HS3, The Northern Hub, TfGM, the Sheffield tunnel, the M65 extension, the Carlise Newcastle M69 plus a huge investment in nuclear energy and flood defence.

“Above all we would like to see a bug investment in telecommunications. High Speed broadband offers significant boost to productivity and economic growth. Flexible working, virtual working, access to virtual teams across the world will be enabled. Short term skill shortages and transport congestion can be significantly alleviated if we get this important investment right.”

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