The findings from the SQW Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review (IER) were launched by Sir Richard Leese, John Cridland and Lord O'Neill in Liverpool on 30th June 2016.
UKSPA members SQW led a large team of consultants and academics to complete the IER, which was commissioned by Transport for the North (TfN) on behalf of Leaders across the North. Working closely with local political leaders and officers, the team completed a rigorous analysis of the economic characteristics and performance of the North. It found that:
- the North's economic performance gap is persistent and entrenched, averaging about 25% below the rest of England (10-15% when London is excluded);
- productivity differences account for the majority of the performance gap; and
- the poor productivity performance is explained mainly in terms of workforce skills – although issues relating to technology, investment and connectivity also have a bearing.
The IER also identified outstanding and distinctive capabilities in the North, where the North is highly productive and can compete on national and international stages. The four 'prime' capabilities are in advanced manufacturing and materials, health innovation, energy and digital. These are supported by three 'enabling' capabilities of financial and professional services, logistics and education (with a focus on higher education).
The IER concluded that a step change in economic performance - significantly above "business as usual projections" - is possible with substantial improvements in transport connectivity, skills, innovation, and inward investment across the North. By 2050, this could mean that:
- GVA is 15% (£97bn) higher than it would otherwise have been;
- productivity is 4% higher; and
- 850,000 additional jobs are created.
The IER Executive Summary is available to download from the SQW Website: IER Executive Summary
The underpinning evidence reports from the IER are also available to download from the SQW website:
Workstream 1 – Performance Gap
Workstream 2 – Local Area Profiles
Workstream 3 – Pan-Northern Capabilities
Workstream 4 – Scenarios
Workstream 5 – Panel Proposals