Northern Powerhouse project gains momentum
There is life outside of London and if the Government gets its way, big business will look just as favourably at the North of England as it does the capital city.
The Northern Powerhouse project is designed to get some of the North’s leading cities and towns to join together to create a ‘collective force’ to rival London. There’s even an appointed Northern Powerhouse Minister (MP Andrew Percy) and the Chancellor used his Autumn Statement in November 2016 to reiterate his pledge to the plan.
With a shock EU referendum result and a tumultuous economic outlook, many thought the Government would quietly drop plans to forge ahead with its Northern Powerhouse project but its enthusiasm for the initiative is still burning bright. In November 2016, the Government declared it was looking to attract £5 billion of foreign investment in the 14 major projects that form the backbone of the powerhouse – areas christened ‘enterprise zones’.
Its first stop has been China, where it’s hoped our developing trade links will prompt a major cash injection. Projects showcased during the pitch included Kampus Manchester (a £200m mixed-use scheme); Future Carrington in Trafford (potential for 1 million sq ft of commercial space); Kirkstall Forge in Leeds (including 300,000 sq ft of office space); Pall Mall in Liverpool (400,000 sq ft of office space) and MediaCity UK in Salford (where an extra 2.3 million sq ft of space is required).
As well as the creation of office and commercial facilities, international investment will help the Northern Powerhouse develop more specialist industries, such as the creation of the first potash mine to be built in the UK for more than 40 years, creating 1,000 new jobs, and Protos is Cheshire – an energy project that will create 3,000 new jobs.
While the BREXIT result may have produced some negativity, 2016 has been an exceptional year for the Northern Powerhouse project, and many global companies are already enjoying a Northern presence. Two success stories include The Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone, which has already attracted leading businesses including Boeing, Siemens and Rolls-Royce, and The Humber Enterprise Zone where Siemens has chosen to invest in their £310 million blade manufacturing plant.
Here are some head-turning statistics that are encouraging companies to look North:
· The 14 ‘enterprise zones’ have attracted over £1 million per day in private investment
· Figures released in July 2016 showed, in the 3 months to December 2015, 1,220 jobs were created in the enterprise zones – an 18% increase compared to the previous quarter
· 30 new companies have chosen to expand within the enterprise zones
· 8,000 new jobs have been reported by enterprise zones over the past 4 years
· £275,000 – the business rate discount available per business over a 5-year period
· Over £1 million – the amount of enhanced capital allowances (tax relief) available to businesses making large investments in plant and machinery
Klippa Relocation’s Alex Hancock comments: “The Northern Powerhouse project plays to the North’s strengths – strong traditions in manufacturing and heavy industries, as well as a developing office and commercial landscape offering more attractive rates to finance, service and tech sectors. The developing employment scene is garnering international interest and will need specialist professionals; therefore we can see an upturn in companies looking relocate experts to the North of England. Cities – including Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield – are exceptionally fine and increasingly sophisticated alternatives to London. We would be delighted to find accommodation and provide orientation services for workers moving to the North.”