NAA Update: The EU referendum and the Northern Powerhouse
There are two subjects that seem to dominate the business news at this time: the EU referendum, or BREXIT; and Northern Powerhouse. On 25th/26th February I attended the Northern Powerhouse Conference in Manchester and both topics were covered!…
For the first one John Humphries, who was chairing the session, did a quick straw-poll asking if the referendum was today, how many of you would vote to stay, how many to leave and how many don’t knows. His conclusion was 85% stay in, 5% leave and 10% don’t know. We are starting to see the large companies come out with statements on their views, please take the time to read those to whom you supply and understand their position. The follow on from that is have you thought about what it would mean for your business dependent upon the outcome? I certainly recommend that you do so and look to share it within your company and staff so they understand what it might mean in the long-term for them.
I have been to several events linked to Northern Powerhouse (NPH) recently. The core activity today is about transport infrastructure, with Transport for the North looking at East-West links as well as HS2. The first train isn’t due to run until 2026, and the new infrastructure won’t be fully operational until 2032. But we’re also seeing changes today with the implementation of LEP City Deals and the roadwork challenges that we face on our daily journeys – all in the longer term aimed at making movement of goods and people easier, even though we’re going through some short-term pain.
Here are some facts for you:
- In the central region of NPH, the furthest distance between cities is 45 miles (Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield)
- If NPH was an standalone country then the economy would be:
- Twice the size of Scotland
- 10th largest within the EU
- 21st in the world
What has become clear to me is that the LEPs and councils are also focusing on what the economic development will look like in 10-20 years time and planning to be successful at that point. The challenge of course is what will jobs or lifestyle look like in 15 years time. Think back 15 years: while we had PCs, smartphones were just arriving, and social media had only just begun! It may be well beyond your planning timeframe, but if you have views then please ensure that your voice is heard locally.
What I did find very interesting was hearing from other European areas where they have made a larger group and the benefit that it has given them on the global stage. Our colleagues in UKTI are already well aware of this and are starting to develop the Northern Powerhouse Proposition to encourage inward investment and help trade.
From an automotive perspective, NP would be the largest area for automotive within the UK and both myself and the CEO from the NEAA are starting to look at how we could collaborate to maximise the opportunities for everyone.
Back to more normal content from me, please put 10th November in your diaries now, in preparation for the 2016 NAA Annual Dinner – we’re moving into central Manchester to the Hilton Hotel, so there are plenty of transport and hotel options for everyone.
Our Ginetta event this week was sold out very quickly, so I recommend that if you want to attend any of our events, you get booking as soon as we release it onto Eventbrite. I’m looking forward to catching up with many of you at the event and if any of you would like to host a networking meeting later in the year then please contact either myself or Martina.
We have now reserved our space for the CENEX Low Carbon Vehicle event this year and you can find both the prospectus and booking form by using this LVC Booking form link; please come and join us. We have one place left on our stand for Automechanika, so if you’ve been pondering on whether it was for you or not, now is the time to secure it!
This is a bumper edition for news, so I will finish here and leave you to read the rest of the newsletter.