13 October 2022
Benzie Building, Manchester Metropolitan University
Higher Ormond Street,
Manchester M15 6BG
The Northern Powerhouse launched over a decade ago, to boost northern economic growth and to rebalance the UK economy. But where are we now?
The government doesn’t talk much about the Northern Powerhouse now, preferring the broader ‘levelling-up’ concept. But the challenges, and the opportunities, remain. We can’t recreate the old industries. We have to somehow re-invent and re-invigorate areas that have suffered long term economic decline. And it’s not going to be easy.
From here in Manchester, reaching out to Liverpool in the West and Leeds and Sheffield in the East, we have a population of about 8 million. This is not too dissimilar to London. Could this area become an integrated single market for producers and consumers, with spin-off benefits for the whole of the North?
Lord Jim O’Neill is one of the Northern Powerhouse’s original architects and a major contributor to its early successes. He names six individual challenges that have to be solved: education; skills; devolution; business connectivity; transport; and technology infrastructure. And he is clear that all six will need to be solved if the Powerhouse objectives are to be achieved. So, is the government serious?
Lord Jim is a free spirit now and pulls no punches.
Lord Jim O’Neill
Lord Jim O’Neill is a British economist and one of the main forces behind the Northern Powerhouse project. He is a cross bench peer in the House of Lords, and a member of the panel of Senior Advisers to Chatham House. He recently became Chair of Northern Gritstone, a new private investment fund to support and expand start-up businesses originating from the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield.