The Northern Powerhouse and Sheffield Economy — John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield Council — 11th April 2016.

The policy ini­ti­at­ive behind the Northern Powerhouse, put in motion more than ten years ago, is that the North of England is larger than some coun­tries and should be in con­trol of making its own decisions.

Economic facts about Sheffield.

  • Sheffield has a pop­u­la­tion of 563,000 people
  • The employ­ment rate is 71% of people of work­ing age
  • One third of the work­force is highly skilled
  • The eco­nomy of Sheffield is worth £11.25 bil­lion
  • The aver­age wage is £26,000

The size of our eco­nomy is small com­pared to other core cities like Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham.

There are a low number of new busi­ness start-ups, pos­sibly because of the his­tory of pre­vi­ous busi­nesses being con­fined to steel.

However, since the reces­sion:

  • GVA has grown by 9%
  • Number of jobs has grown by 5.5%
  • Job Seeker’s Allowance has fallen by 4.9%
  • Average wages have grown by 8%

These fig­ures are still lower than the National aver­age but are better than Birmingham, Tyneside, Leeds, Liverpool and Nottingham, although not as good as Manchester and Bristol.

Devolution.
The aim of Devolution is a way of get­ting the tools to do the job of improv­ing the lot of the people of the north of England.

It is not a flash in the pan, but builds on pre­vi­ous deals with the Government.

It is not just about new money but also about trying to make struc­tural changes to the system.

The agree­ment secures vital powers and resources.

  • £900 mil­lion over the next 30 years
  • £30 mil­lion a year for 30 years
  • A single pot with no ring fen­cing
  • A 60/40 capital/revenue split
  • The power to borrow against it

This means we can loc­ally pri­or­it­ise key eco­nomic invest­ments like the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District.  This is a nation­ally import­ant asset work­ing with uni­ver­sit­ies and major global firms to develop new mater­i­als etc.  It is a place where new tech­niques are being developed for the people who want to use them.

We now have post-19 edu­ca­tion under con­trol so we can direct local train­ing to match our eco­nomy.

Transport.
We will regain con­trol over our bus ser­vices and have more power to deliver local trans­port schemes.

We need to upgrade all trans­port links, par­tic­u­larly between Manchester and Leeds and Sheffield, if we want an integ­rated work force.  The jour­ney time to Manchester needs to be cut to around 15 – 20 minutes.

Goals of the Northern Powerhouse.

  • Northern Powerhouse (named by George Osborne) is about address­ing the under­per­form­ing eco­nomy and assets of the region.
  • To become an eco­nomic con­urba­tion of inter­na­tional sig­ni­fic­ance.
  • To have higher pro­ductiv­ity, higher skills, higher incomes.
  • To attract game-changing invest­ment.
  • To have super-connected urban centres, cre­at­ing a shared labour market.
  • To have more knowledge-based busi­nesses.
  • To have growth-focused trans­port.

Conclusions of an Independent Review.
An inde­pend­ent review of the Northern Powerhouse con­cluded that it has four prime eco­nomic strengths.

  • Advanced man­u­fac­tur­ing — devel­op­ing new mater­i­als and new tech­niques.
  • Energy – devel­op­ing new energy products using wind and nuc­lear.
  • Health innov­a­tion – new med­ical devel­op­ments and new tech­niques in mon­it­or­ing.
  • Digital – new con­tent to broad­cast.

These are sup­por­ted by three enabling cap­ab­il­it­ies.

  • Financial and pro­fes­sional ser­vices
  • Logistics
  • Higher edu­ca­tion

John seemed con­fid­ent that this could lead to a 35% increase in the number of jobs across the North in the future.