George Osborne holds first Powerhouse evidence session

"Chairing the Northern Powerhouse Partnership is now the major focus of my political energies," says former chancellor George Osborne.

Former chancellor George Osborne held the first in a series of evidence-gathering events for his Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) in Manchester on 3 November 2016.

The NPP, an independent body established to represent the voice of major business and civic leaders across the north, is holding sessions across the region to start to develop a consensus amongst leading business and public sector organisations on the issues and key priorities that will enable the NPP to drive transformational change throughout the Northern economy.

Launched in September 2016, the NPP is an independent not-for-profit partnership with a business-led board, including representatives from key northern companies including Manchester Airports Group, Mace, Barclays and Associated British Ports. In addition, the board also includes political representation from across the region.

Siemens, HSBC, EY, Addleshaw Goddard and Bruntwood have also joined the NPP board and all companies on the board have agreed a financial contribution to the NPP. Their representatives will attend evidence sessions which are set to take place in 2016 in Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool. Further sessions are planned across the north in 2017.

George Osborne commented: “Since the Northern Powerhouse Partnership was launched in September this year I have, frankly, been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response we have received from business and civic leaders right across the north. We've made more progress than I could have possibly hoped for.

“In the next two months, I'm going to set out, with the Partnership, to visit cities across the north - from Liverpool to Leeds, Newcastle to Sheffield and Manchester - to listen to businesses and local leaders. It’s just a start of the engagement with communities right across the region. Chairing this Partnership is now the major focus of my political energies. 

“These roundtable events will enable the Northern Powerhouse Partnership to begin to develop a consensus across the north about the common ideas which we can work closely with national government on and improve the economy and quality of life for people in the north. I feel confident that the expertise we have sat around the table will enable the NPP to promote some fresh and innovative thinking into issues that will really make a difference here in the north.”

Steve Gillingham, director of the north at Mace, one of the founding members of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “Having delivered major infrastructure and development schemes across the north of England for more than 20 years we know how investment in infrastructure is crucial for opening up clogged arterial routes and developing much needed technical skills. Delivering transformational infrastructure projects like HS2, HS3 and the trans-Pennine tunnel are critical for improving the region’s opportunities and prosperity by ensuring that blood pumps to all the economic muscles of the north. 

“The first meeting of the NPP comes at a critical time. Following the vote to leave the EU it is now more important than ever that the private and public sector come together with one voice to provide the expertise and long-term commitment needed to create an economic powerhouse in the north. As the new government prepares to set out its vision of an industrial strategy which promotes growth across the whole of the UK, it is vitally important that we in the north make our voices heard to ensure the Northern Powerhouse becomes a reality,” said Gillingham.

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