A key part of the bold and transformative approach required is investment at scale in new and upgraded transport infrastructure, and specifically in Northern Powerhouse Rail.
As a company with strong roots in the north of England, as well as a long-established expertise in transport and wider economic planning and place-making, we are examining the ways in which transport investment can deliver the economic renaissance needed in the region.
How to kickstart a northern renaissance
Our first paper, ‘How to kickstart a northern renaissance’, looks at how a new link between Leeds, Bradford and Manchester would more than double the size of the available labour market and unleash the productive economic potential of cities and towns along the route. This connection alone could potentially increase productivity by 6%, raise the employment rate by 1.5% and increase gross value added (GVA) in the north by about 8% over 10 years. We noted that this is equivalent to a £22bn uplift in GVA by 2060, from just one effect of the NPR programme.
Our second paper, ‘Polycentric powerhouse’, notes that the benefits of investment in improved connectivity will only be fully delivered if local authorities in towns and cities across the north develop their strategic plans on the basis of an understanding that they are part of a regional whole rather than in isolation. Doing this will allow them to focus on further developing their individual strengths in business, healthcare, education and culture, with better transport links facilitating trade between places. This will maximise the uplift in productivity needed to close the gap with London and the south-east.
Over the coming months we will continue to examine different ways in which investment in significant rail projects can transform the north of England and other areas of the UK and deliver on the promise of levelling up.