One of the most prominent aspects of George Osborne’s 2015 Budget was the concept of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. He plans to turn northern cities like Manchester and Liverpool into economic hubs rivalling London and the South East.
To balance the British economy, the Chancellor says four key issues need addressing:
- Transport infrastructure needs improvement, predominantly via a new high-speed train line (HS3) linking Leeds and Manchester
- A greater focus on engineering, science and innovation, mainly through the North of England regions’ many universities
- Giving greater autonomy in local Government, namely by having an elected mayor in Greater Manchester
- Building cultural links in northern cities to make them more attractive places to live
Critics are Sceptical
Osborne and the Conservatives’ critics contest the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ vision as being a means of drumming up support ahead of the General Election. Bringing a balance of power and economy to the country via a Northern Powerhouse utopia is a fantastic idea. But how is this likely to affect recruitment in the North West?
According to a recent Oxford Economics for the New Economy report, this will likely create 110,000 new jobs in Manchester.
Firstly, it is essential to note that Manchester already sees growth, particularly concerning employment. Secondly, while jobs are available, the problem Northern employers are experiencing is a shortage of tech talent.
Connecting the Major Northern Cities
One of Osbourne’s plans is to create ‘cultural links’, making Northern cities a more attractive place to live. He aims to achieve this through the introduction of high-speed transport links connecting the South with the 15 million people living in the North. The aim of this is to ensure cities like Manchester have the talent Northern employers are seeking.
The idea behind introducing the HS3 is that linking the cities of the North will widen the talent pool. Connecting Liverpool to the North-East via Manchester and Leeds, businesses will benefit from a more extensive selection of skills available to them.
“It is about producing people who are able to adapt as we don’t necessarily know what the new technology will be. It’s about producing ambitious, curious, innovative people that can contribute to the changing technology.”Mark Hope – Digital director at Access
Will the Northern Powerhouse see any Short Term Benefits?
Short-term, the construction of such a high-tech transport infrastructure is unlikely to bring any benefit. It includes ambitious plans to tunnel under the Peak District to link Manchester and Sheffield. While this may succeed in creating jobs and improving local economies, it is a long term project.
On paper, it certainly sounds like the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ will create employment opportunities to boost the North-West economy. However, we must not forget, Manchester is doing a pretty good job at creating employment opportunities already.
If you’re a business owner who would like to open up your talent pool, our expert recruitment consultants can help. Why not give us a call to discuss your growth plans?