Government convenes ‘Council of the North’ to steer economic growth

THE Government is harking back to 1472 with its latest Northern Powerhouse initiative to grow the region’s economy.

A ‘Council of the North’ is being created to advise ministers on a variety of issues, such as boosting productivity, overcoming disparities in economic growth, and to tackle the historic North-south divide.

More formally a government-funded advisory board known as NP11, the ‘council’ will consist of the chairs of the 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the North of England.

According to the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), the board will act as one voice representing each of their regions as a modern day ‘Council for the North’ to work with and advise the Government.

The proposal to create NP11 was announced by Northern Powerhouse minister, Jake Berry MP, during the first ever Northern Powerhouse Business Summit in Newcastle Gateshead earlier this month.

“As we approach leaving the European Union we need to ensure that every area of the UK continues to economically flourish,” Berry said. “The Northern Powerhouse will be a vital support to the UK in achieving this and so I am very pleased the 11 LEP chairs have agreed to form the new NP11 board.

“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.

“Together we will deliver a North of England which is an economic powerhouse and one which can proudly take its place on the world stage both now and as we leave the EU.”

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.

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and of the newly formed NP11 board, said: “As someone born in the North East, who spent their career in Yorkshire and who has been passionate about the North’s potential as a driving force for national productivity and competitiveness for decades, I am delighted to have been asked to chair this new body.

“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 Local Enterprise Partnership, who takes the role of vice-chair of the 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. The NP11 will serve as a strong coherent regional voice with national government about the exciting potential of an innovation-led economy for the North.”



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