The people of Britain are united on the project. With London becoming overpopulated and northern cities crying out for more investment, the case for the Northern Powerhouse has never been clearer.
However, since the sacking of George Osbourne as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Northern Powerhouse has been in political quagmire. The project for investment in business and infrastructure in the North, has yet to be fully backed by the new government and Chancellor Philip Hammond. Let’s analyse the latest spring budget to see if the government has confirmed its stance:
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has been allocated, with funds for local projects such as improvements in the Blackpool town centre. Continued schemes including a newly built four-story building has been proposed to regenerate the town centre and create more jobs
- Transport links will be improved, including the A483 in Cheshire, maintenance of the Leicester Outer Ring Road, and a new roundabout at Hales in Norfolk. Improvements on these networks will reduce the time taken to get to work and will encourage workers to take jobs further away.
- £690 million more will be competitively allocated to local authorities, with £490 million made available by early autumn 2017.
- More money available for an increase of the number of programs of training for 16-19 year olds on technical routes, including the completion of a high quality industry work placement during the programme. Northern students will benefit from this, as the government believes they are the future of the Northern Powerhouse
- £500 million additional funding invested in routes for colleges in the north, including the National College of High Speed Rail and the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas
The government has allocated a strong proportion of the budget for the project. Although there has been much criticism on the budgets support for the relief of the NHS and the new tax proposals for the self-employed, Philip clearly believes in the future of the North:
Today’s Budget sets out how we will lay the foundations for a stronger Britain outside the EU and build an economy that works for everyone, in all corners of society and every region of the country.
The investments I have announced today back our work to build a Northern Powerhouse with a significant cash boost for local transport to make journeys shorter and improve congestion on the region’s busiest roads while our major commitments on skills, health, education and social care will benefit those right across the North.
– PHILIP HAMMOND