New PM and Chancellor but Same Goals Remain: What’s Next for the Northern Powerhouse?
It is a relief to many that the post of Minister for the Northern Powerhouse has survived Teresa May’s reshuffle of the cabinet.
Sensibly, the job has been handed to another northern MP, Andrew Percy, whose constituency is Brigg and Goole in Yorkshire.
Encouragingly, Percy has announced that ‘The Government is committed to rebalancing the economy’.
He continued, ‘I am determined to do everything I can to make sure that the Northern Powerhouse continues to grow and thrive’.
Indeed, it is hoped that Percy will have the drive to make the Powerhouse a reality, which some believe his predecessor, Stockton South MP James Wharton, lacked. Percy is considered a ‘Tory rebel’ with the nerve to fight for his beliefs. It is not for nothing that fellow MP Kevin Hollinrake of Thirsk and Malton has described Percy as ‘a straight-talker’.
Of course, the high-profile figure most strongly connected to the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ tag was former chancellor George Osborne, who launched the concept during a speech at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry in 2014, before appointing Mr Wharton to the new ministerial post.
Despite the critics and naysayers, under Osborne and Wharton, the Northern Powerhouse started to come into being. As Osborne stated last month, foreign direct investment in the north has grown 127 per cent over the past two years.
Furthermore, the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review has found that 850,000 new jobs will be created in the north by 2050 if the plans to transform both business and transport in the region are followed through.
All of this can only be a plus for the northern property market, both commercially and residentially speaking. As industry grows and infrastructure develops, more and more people will flock to major northern cities like Leeds, Liverpool and, of course, Manchester for work.
The knock-on benefits for the local economy will be huge, with even larger numbers people living and, more importantly, spending in the top half of the country. The confidence that this will bring into markets should lead to all-important investment in the area, meaning more services, amenities and, naturally, property.
This is especially good news in the light of the economic uncertainty caused by the EU referendum result. Continued investment and belief in the potential of the north should help our big cities to weather any financial turbulence that may be still to come as the terms of Brexit are negotiated over the next couple of years.
So, can Mr Percy deliver George Osborne’s vision? Only time will tell, but with conversations about the plans continuing in Parliament, the outlook looks positive.
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