The ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is fast becoming a hot topic in 2017 through the media. With the UK undergoing enormous and uncertain change (Brexit), the current government has now started to invest in the North of England. London is considered as the main financial workhouse in the UK and the statistics don’t lie, an article from the Financial Times in 2015 states:
“The data shows that London is by far the most dynamic region, with each person contributing on average £42,666 to the UK economy. The capital’s success in generating economic value dwarfs the rest of the country, with all northern English regions contributing less than half that value per person”
Being a North Yorkshire based company ourselves, I thought I’d lay out what the Northern Powerhouse will mean to business with a specific focus on SME’s, the services and manufacturing industry. All which GSPK Design are proud to be.
What is the Northern Powerhouse?
In short, the Northern Powerhouse is a long-term plan to boost economic growth in the North of England.
Major cities involved in this scheme will be Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle, cities GSPK Design are all too familiar with as many of our clients are based in the North. The proposal is not just for business but will also boost transport links, science, and innovation. Theresa May, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is now pushing the Northern Powerhouse to the top of the agenda as the media report on economic funding from the government as well as other countries.
China will play a huge role in the years to come for the Northern Powerhouse. After Chinese President, Xi Jinping’s 2015 visit to the UK, he was thrilled to give full Chinese backing to the efforts of the UK government. The cities mentioned above are already seeing large investment from Chinese companies into their local economy including property in Manchester and in Sheffield, where a 60-year deal will invest billions into the local economy as well as boost the image of the steel city. With continuing support from internal governments as well as foreign investment, the North is on track to successfully grow economically over the years ahead.
How will SMEs benefit?
The North is home to over 15 million people and there are over one million private sector businesses (source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/571562/NPH_strategy_web.pdf). This is a huge amount of people & businesses and therefore a huge amount of opportunity for business growth in particular for SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises). Better infrastructure in the transport sector will help with connecting Northern cities for opportunities to collaborate better and more effectively.
Education and training will also be a huge boost for SMEs and start-ups looking to keep young graduates in the North. One of North’s biggest plight is keeping talent away from London as the path of today’s graduate tends to head down to the capital where opportunities are rife and salaries are higher. However, with the Northern Powerhouse effect, I believe we will start to see changing attitudes in Northern Cities as they continue to build their own cultural identity as well as infrastructure in the form of low-cost housing to woo young professionals into living their life in the likes of Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield etc.
With money invested from the Northern Powerhouse program, SME’s will benefit from ongoing opportunities that are closer to their doorstep. At GSPK Design we hope to continue working with local companies to develop their electronic product requirements as projects benefit from close communication. The North has huge untapped potential for start-ups and has some of the best universities in the UK producing talented individuals looking to make their mark on the business world and find their fortune. These are exciting and positive times ahead for SMEs!
Moving forward to 2020 and beyond
GSPK Design always look at the road ahead and how we as a business can adapt to changing markets and opportunities it can get involved with. With the recent announcement of our successful iso quality management accreditation to design and manufacture medical devices we hope to work on medical device projects soon and the Northern Powerhouse will only bolster our network links as well as opening the doors for new businesses to get in touch with us.
On paper, the future is certainly looking bright for the North of England and business is set to prosper from investors growing key cities across the North. As of 23rd January 2017, Prime Minister, Theresa May, has pledged a £556 million boost to Manufacturing across the North enabling businesses to grow in key areas. To conclude the North of England is in an excellent position to grow financially as well as prosper innovatively in creating new products and services. I hope to see more networking opportunities and new developments within the electronic design and manufacturing sector enabling us to talk to more businesses looking to take advantage of the positive times ahead.
Thanks for reading,