Business leaders await strong signal from government on Northern Powerhouse

Business leaders await strong signal from government on Northern Powerhouse

One of the North West’s most prominent business leaders has called for the Government to reconfirm its commitment to the Northern Powerhouse in November’s Autumn Statement.

Vanda Murray OBE was former CEO at FTSE quoted Blick plc, and now holds a portfolio of non-executive directorships including Manchester Airports Group,  Bunzl plc, Exova plc and Fenner plc. 

She is also Pro-Chancellor and chair of the board of Governors at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Since the Northern Powerhouse vision was first outlined by Chancellor George Osborne in 2014, business and industry has been working towards a future with all the big northern cities joined by modern transport connections with science and innovation prioritised and the establishment of creative clusters. 

But since the Brexit vote, the departure of George Osborne from the Treasury and the installation of Theresa May as Prime Minister, leaders across the North are looking for a strong signal that the new government is committed to the Northern Powerhouse. 

“I’m really pleased that the commitment to a coherent industrial strategy is at the centre of the government agenda. The clear message from the vote to leave the European Union is that many parts of the North feel left behind,” said Vanda.

“I welcomed Theresa May’s re-assurances of the enormous contribution and potential of cities like Manchester. The words now need to be translated in to action and we’re hopeful that the Autumn Statement will be the opportunity to do just that.” 

She added: “We’re ready to play our part in galvanising collaboration across the North from civic leaders, to business leaders, communities and universities. There’s still an enormous desire to maintain the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse and support initiatives that will support growth and investment across the North.”

A recent report from the research group Institute for Public Policy Research estimates that investment in Crossrail of £4.6bn is bigger than all transport projects in the North put together. Per head of population that translates to £1,900 in London and just £290 in the North West.

The Autumn Statement will be published on 23 November.