The Northern Powerhouse represents a unique opportunity for the region to grow and develop by taking responsibility for its own affairs, encouraging entrepreneurial activity, inward investment and improvements in infrastructure and services. The opportunity does, however, have to be earned. The region needs to demonstrate it can take this responsibility and deliver results. Co-operation within and between regions is essential and a proper plan for devolution must be agreed.
It’s very welcome to have the Chancellor make the case that faster growth in the North is of strategic importance to the UK, and with our many assets, the North East is a vital part of that. The Spending Review will show how serious Government is about making a lasting impact. We need meaningful devolution, commitment to significant infrastructure investment, and root-and-branch policy reform across Whitehall to correct the many areas that were designed with the economy of the South East in mind.
For current and future generations in our region, the Northern Powerhouse has to grow and build on our economic and cultural strengths. Within our region we have many of the fundamental requirements to build and realise the collective ambition of the Northern Powerhouse. It requires an urgency of moving from intent to action and a collective consistent effort by all stakeholders to realise this ambition.
In theory, I believe the Northern Powerhouse to be an invaluable initiative to give our region a voice, and to achieve further economic development. Yet, in reality, we seem to be strangled by our own red tape and politics, resulting in frustration rather than achievement.
Working with business people from all industries and backgrounds, I firmly believe it is the business owners themselves, whether they are sole traders or AIM-listed, who are the truly powerful ones and have the ability to make change happen.