The Northern Powerhouse continues to attract significant political attention, even with the other pressing issues that are being faced across the UK, Brexit being chief among them.
It’s an initiative that represents an ongoing commitment to bolster economic prosperity across the north of England, with investment in job creation, transport, infrastructure and housing to better balance the nation’s economic interests between the north and south.
The scheme has already led to a range of new projects getting off the ground that make this area extremely attractive to new investors, with more still to come in the years ahead.
What is the Northern Powerhouse?
The Northern Powerhouse is the brainchild of former chancellor George Osborne and has been a cornerstone of policy for both the present Conservative government and the coalition government that preceded it.
It sets out a plan to address social and economic factors that have seen many of the country’s northern cities fall behind London and the south in terms of levels of investment and support during recent years.
At the heart of the Northern Powerhouse proposals is a commitment to reinvigorating local economies, which is based on a premise of developing improved transport connectivity, infrastructure and business investment that will lead to new opportunities for growth.
What does this mean for Newcastle?
Considerable investment continues to be seen in Newcastle and its surrounding communities, with projects to enhance the global appeal of the city in terms of business relocation, job creation and new opportunities for major investment.
A total of £3.4 billion in local growth deals has already been committed to the Northern Powerhouse scheme as a whole, with the dedicated Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund offering £400 million to support small businesses in the area.
At the same time, £13 billion continues to be spent on transport infrastructure upgrades across the region, with Newcastle in particular benefiting from projects including multi-million pound improvements to both the A1 and A19 in recent years.
In addition, Newcastle Airport continues to attract rising passenger numbers – up six per cent to 4.8 million visitors in 2016 – and is benefiting from improved facilities and enhanced connectivity with surrounding businesses to further bolster the region’s standing.
It means the Northern Powerhouse aim of boosting prosperity through the creation of stronger links for the area, both internally and to the rest of the UK and beyond, continues to gather pace.
Combined, these major projects will support the creation of more new jobs in the area in the coming years, and to meet this growing demand, developers are also being encouraged to put forward plans for the creation of new homes. There are currently projects in the pipeline for the delivery of thousands of new properties across Newcastle and the surrounding area, with high levels of demand for homes for both purchase and rent.
Meanwhile, devolution plans for the combined Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside councils will also help to ensure a significant increase in autonomy for the area in the coming years, with the new North of the Tyne Authority expected to come into being in early 2018.
This represents a significant shift in the political landscape for Newcastle and the north-east, with far greater autonomy to be enabled in key decision-making in the years ahead. It means local planners will have a far greater say in the future makeup of Newcastle’s built environment, which could prove extremely beneficial in meeting the area’s ongoing need for more homes and new developments.
A prime opportunity for investors
Investors from around the world should therefore consider the opportunities that this ongoing investment in cities across the north of England could mean for them. Indeed, government figures show that higher levels of investment are already being witnessed, with inward investment to the north of England increasing by nearly one-quarter in value during the 2015-16 financial year.
Now, as sizable projects across the region continue to boost the future outlook for economic prosperity, Newcastle is well positioned to attract further opportunities for development in the coming years. The Northern Powerhouse has already helped in the creation of new opportunities for growth and this is a process that is only likely to accelerate in the years ahead.
Historically, the north-east has suffered from a lack of government investment and recent years have seen a considerable loss in jobs; however, all this is now changing. Investors with an eye for the opportunities created through an increase in autonomy for the region, jobs growth and streamlined planning for ambitious new developments should therefore be well positioned to benefit from Newcastle’s ongoing position at the forefront of the Northern Powerhouse.