Fears are growing that the Northern Powerhouse scheme could be in danger following the momentous EU referendum result.
The scheme, designed to rival London and the South East as the main economic growth driver, is in doubt following the resignation of David Cameron and uncertainty over George Osborne’s future. Chancellor Osborne, the main thinktank behind the Northern Powerhouse, could soon be on his way out of office.
Shift in (Northern) Powerhouse
However, according to one onlooker, the outcome of the referendum makes the case for the Northern Powerhouse more compelling than before. Martin Venning, director at UK Northern Powerhouse, runs the UK Northern Powerhouse Conference, which took place at Manchester earlier in 2016.
Mr Venning noted, ‘the result of the EU referendum makes the case for the UK Northern Powerhouse more compelling. Our stakeholders will continue to contribute to the process of building a stronger, more productive and stable Northern economy. The challenges of growth post Brexit will require innovation and new forms of collaboration which can create new opportunities for all. We expect to play our part in shaping that agenda.’
The scheme has already attracted much potential investment, in particular from China. This has served to assist in pushing up property prices and rents across the North West.
Ged McPartlin, sales director at Manchester-based dales firm Ascend Properties, observes that, ‘while the initial shock might be hard to swallow for some, the reality is that Manchester’s economy has never been stronger-and will only continue to grow.’
‘The level of internal investment pouring into the city has reached many millions of pounds, spanning new homes, commercial ventures, offices and infrastructure. Manchester will also be seeing investment from China which will be going into Airport City, testament to the strength of the Northern Powerhouse. We are confident for the future,’ he added.
Northern Powerhouse scheme in danger after Brexit
Mr Graham Davidson, managing director of Manchester-based Square Property Investment, offers a more optimistic view of the referendum result.
Davidson noted, ‘The decision to leave is truly a once-in-a-lifetime decision and should now be embraced. The UK economy is going from strength to strength and the people of the UK have decided that now is the time for us to break away from the rest of Europe and gain back more control on our own future. Our economy continues to develop, particularly outside of London in light of the Northern Powerhouse agenda which is key to growth.’
‘Investment in Manchester over the past 12 months for example has been unprecedented and this month it was announced that MediaCityUK is set to double in size, with investment from UK companies creating thousands of new homes and job opportunities – a show of confidence in what we can achieve on our own. It’s safe to say The Northern Powerhouse agenda is well underway, and the referendum results being announced in Manchester’s town hall was testament to this.’
Concluding, Mr Davidson noted, ‘The reasons for investing in UK property won’t change, with returns still outperforming all other forms of investment. Our own business is testament to this – enquiry levels have not declined despite what much of the media has portrayed; people understand that property investment can be highly rewarding, whether you are topping up your pension, saving for your children’s future or looking for additional regular income.’