Confidence is booming across the North – according to report

Corporate North
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The overwhelming majority of businesses in the North feel positive about the region’s economic prospects – according to a new report.

According to Corporate North – a survey of 150 economic leaders – civic pride is running at incredibly high levels.

The report was put together by law firm CMS and is running a series of articles and comments focussing on the findings of the report over the course of the week.

As well as commentary we also held a high-level round table with business leaders and decision makers from across the North. Two reports from the discussion will form part of our week long coverage.

The Corporate North study asked business leaders for their views on a number of key topics affecting their firms and the wider region.

And despite the backdrop of continued political uncertainty and the struggles of various sectors such as retail there is an enormous sense of pride and optimism in the economic achievements of the North.

A total of 79 per cent of respondents said that they feel positive about the growth aspects in the region.

Most are more than happy to call themselves Northern and just five per cent would consider moving to the South to improve their prospects.

An overwhelming 80 per cent of those who responded are in favour of devolution but added the caveat that more needs to be done when it comes to taking back power from the Westminster bubble.

The key areas where the North is expected to flourish in the future are advanced technology, the digital sector and professional services.

And according to the findings of the report the main issue that most businesses want tackling will come as no surprise. Just under half of all businesses have highlighted transport where improvement is needed.

Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse minister, has agreed with the findings.

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry

He said: “With the North being home to over 15 million people, half of all the UK’s major cities and almost 30 universities the potential of the Northern Powerhouse and its £330bn economy is huge.

“The report from CMS show that there is a strong support from the business community across the North of England to turn the Northern Powerhouse vision into a reality.”

The report has come up with a series of conclusions and recommendations.

They include:

Bringing forward Northern Powerhouse Rail

Investing in skills from both business and government

Further devolution of powers

More action from business in investing in the future

Collaboration across the north between businesses, city regions, enterprise partnerships and organisations

Mark Haywood, the head of the Manchester office of CMS, said: “This report showcases the confidence and optimism across the north of England.

Mark Haywood

“Few political initiatives have caught the public’s imagination quite like the Northern Powerhouse.

“In just four years the political landscape has changed beyond all recognition but the Northern Powerhouse has endured through all of this.

“It has gone beyond politics and become a byword for pride and ambition across the North.

“Those who took part in our report demonstrate that pride, passion and enthusiasm that comes with being in the business in the North.”

To read the full report click here.