‘Council for the North’ on way to align businesses for Northern Powerhouse

 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the north of England are to form a new body to support the government’s aims for the Northern Powerhouse across the region.

In an announcement by Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry on Friday, chairs of 11 LEPs will form the government-funded body ‘NP11’ to act as one voice representing each of their regions as a modern day ‘Council for the North’.

The board will work and advise the government on issue including how to increase productivity, tackle the notorious north-south divide, and overcome regional disparities in economic growth.

Speaking at the Northern Powerhouse Business Summit in Newcastle Gateshead, Berry said: “As we approach leaving the European Union we need to ensure that every area of the UK continues to economically flourish.”

Berry noted that the board will deliver a north of England which is an economic powerhouse and one “which can proudly take its place on the world stage” as the UK leaves the EU.

“For the first time since 1472, we will bring together the business voices of the Northern Powerhouse in our Council for the North. They have one task: to enrich all the peoples of the North of England – this is the foundation stone of the Northern Powerhouse and, with the skills and expertise of the NP11, we will shift the North’s economy into overdrive,” he added.

The three-day summit brought together leading figures from across government and industry including business secretary Greg Clark and the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney.

Public Sector Executive is driving devolution in the north with its newest event, ‘EvoNorth’, aimed at connecting industry leaders and decision-makers in the Northern Powerhouse to drive the region for the future.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have stressed the NP11 is not associated with the newly established ‘Convention of the North’ comprising of council leaders and elected mayors, aimed at creating a powerful new voice for the region and led by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11 Board, said: “By bringing together the private and public sectors, local enterprise partnerships are in a unique position to unite northern business and civic leaders behind a common goal of building a true northern economic powerhouse that brings prosperity to everyone who lives and works in the North, while also competing for the country globally.”

Christine Gaskell, chair of the Cheshire and Warrington LEP and vice-chair of NP11, said: “To translate the Northern Powerhouse concept into increasing impact requires new types of conversations across the region and at the heart of this collaboration are common goals which transcend local interests.”

Gaskell noted that the The NP11 will serve as a “strong coherent regional voice” with national government about the potential of an innovation-led economy for the North.

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Image credit: GordonBellPhotography, iStock images


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