In the business world, if not the real world, there’s been a lot of talk and commentary lately about the Northern Powerhouse. Whether you think that’s a good thing or not is up to you but I would suggest the whole issue is going to increase in visibility very soon. It will likely impact all businesses in the North West in some way or other over the coming years so why not give it some thought at least.
So where does the idea come from and what sort of chance has it got of making a difference?
For me the issue of a North/South divide has always been around and has always seemed something very real and tangible – in a positive way. One of the great beauties of Great Britain to my mind is, and always will be, its huge diversity and regional differences. Whether you’re doing business with a company in Bradford, Birmingham or Bath, you are dealing with that diversity and doing so to the benefit of all. Long may that continue.
But what happens when the economic imbalance becomes so great as to threaten the very survival of one of the parties involved? When all the action, jobs and overseas investment are in London there is a real danger that the great Northern cities will enter a dangerous phase of decline. Surely that is the time to at least consider taking some action.
We don’t have the space here to go into all the arguments but there are plenty of debates going on all over the region for getting up to speed. My point is simply this – take some responsible ownership, look for example at the pros and cons of a high-speed rail link to Crewe or consider the benefits of Liverpool Super Port from your own commercial point of view and get involved.
Because of the nature my work, I know for certain that there are plenty of businesses here in the North West who simply don’t know what the Northern Powerhouse is or what it’s attempting to do to ensure our economic prosperity. The simple concepts of economic collaboration or targeting of growth can easily be obscured behind the very labels designed to make them accessible. We need to be smarter than that and cut through jargon to make a difference.
Ignore scepticism, take political bias with a huge pinch of salt but don’t waste the opportunity to derive some benefit from what’s readily on offer. It may take some effort to penetrate the fog but the reward will be there for the benefit of us all.