Northern Powerhouse under threat, say FSB members

THE Federation for Small Businesses has published research which suggests most business owners believe the Northern Powerhouse is under threat and less likely to happen than a year ago.

The research by FSB’s Manchester and North Cheshire region asked participants if they thought the scheme was still on track and would be delivered in full.

Results found that on 9% of respondents answered ‘yes’, compared to 37% who said ‘no’.

The remaining 49% believed it was less likely to happen than a year ago.
The results are from the federation’s quarterly report entitled FSB Voice of Small Business Index.

It found that small business confidence was in decline nationally, with the North West being the least confident in England.

Business owners were also asked where they would like transport investment to be focused as part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative.

Only 15% of respondents said they would most like investment to be spent on the HS2 high-speed rail project, whilst 47% said they would prefer a trans-Pennine tunnel from Yorkshire to Manchester.

Regional chair for the FSB’s Manchester and North Cheshire region Simon Edmondson said: “The Northern Powerhouse project has never been properly defined as to what the finished product would really look like.

“However, our research suggests many business owners unfortunately now believe whatever it does end up as – if anything at all – will be a diluted version.

“The trans-Pennine tunnel seems to have plenty of support, as does HS3 – not surprisingly.

“HS2 on the other hand really doesn’t have too many friends.”