Should the UK take a “leap of faith” and invest in the infrastructure to support a ‘Northern Powerhouse’? John Cridland, former director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), now leading the government quango looking in to the matter, Transport for the North (TfN), believes so.

In a speech delivered to a small business conference in London earlier this week, Mr Cridland warned the audience that “there is no guarantee that investing billions in infrastructure will help the North of England” but urged government to do it anyway.

BDO’s Andy Mahon, Partner in our public sector consulting practice and based in our Leeds office, responded:

“Rebalancing the economy to create jobs and growth in the north is essential to the UK’s future economic well-being.  Creating and encouraging the right business and transport investment is only part of the solution.  Persuading an increasing number of potential employees that the North can rival the South East from a social and cultural perspective, as well as from an economic one, will be just as important.  So far there has been too much emphasis on business infrastructure and not enough on social infrastructure.  For businesses to thrive in the north there needs to be investment in public sector and social infrastructure such as housing, schools and leisure which will support the growth of new businesses”.

Don’t lose that faith, Mr Cridland.

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