Questions remain as Powerhouse gets an energy boost

Supporters of the Northern Powerhouse initiative in Lancashire were given an energy boost with the news that county MP Jake Berry is the new minister given the job of driving the project forward.

However, despite that move, questions still remain over the importance now being placed on the Northern Powerhouse in the corridors of power as Brexit continues to dominate the political and economic agenda. Policy North, a business-led organisation which covers all of the North of England, has now called for the Powerhouse to be abandoned and replaced with a policy it calls ‘Global North’.

Group chairman Stephen Purvis talks of a “new vision” opening up connections with growing economies across the world and new industries such as financial technology and biotech.

Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development in the new Conservative administration at Lancashire County Council, remains a Powerhouse supporter and believes it is far from dead in the water.

Whilst the future of the Powerhouse concentrates minds in the region post-general election, in Lancashire what happens now to any devolution hopes remains as big a question.

He said: “It’s something I’ve always been supportive of. I think the focus was too much on structures and not enough on the vision, on what it could actually achieve. “So I’m not surprised that it’s not got the support it needed to have. It probably needs to be looked at again. We will have to see where that takes us to. It has got to be right, right for the various partners and residents of Lancashire.”

  • A fuller version of this article and more analysis of the powerhouse plan can be read in the current print issue of Lancashire Business View. Subscribe here.

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