6th February 2017:

The Government is to announce a £556m cash boost for the Northern Powerhouse at a regional Cabinet meeting in the North West, with £327.7m funding for the region to create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth.

The Northern Powerhouse money will be awarded via the Local Growth Fund while North West will receive £327.7m, in addition to the £1.2bn the region has already been awarded.

That funding will support a number of key projects in the region including £10m for the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund to provide capital to local small and medium businesses, driving the growth of innovative young life sciences businesses.
Projects that will benefit include a terminal linking rail, sea and road at Goole, a 21st century conference centre in Blackpool and a new innovation fund for Manchester and Cheshire businesses.

In its Green Paper, Building our Industrial Strategy, the government outlines 10 key pillars of focus to be discussed as part of a 12-week consultation period, inviting contributions from industries, businesses, local groups and workers across the North West.

The pillars cover a broad range of themes including ‘skills’, ‘infrastructure’, ‘affordable energy and clean growth’, with the Green Paper proposing a series of announcements for each.

The Strategy will propose plans for ‘driving growth across the country’, with a framework to build on local strengths and reduce regional disparities in opportunities and prosperity.

Business and energy secretary Greg Clark said: “This is an important step in building a modern, dynamic industrial strategy that will improve living standards and drive economic growth across the whole country.

“A modern British industrial strategy must build on the UK’s strengths and extend excellence into the future; close the gap between the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest; and ensure we are one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business.

“The North West has a world-leading reputation in a number of the UK’s leading sectors and industries. Through our Industrial Strategy and investment in the Northern Powerhouse we plan to build on the region’s local strengths and create new opportunities and jobs in other industries and sectors.

“We are inviting businesses and workers to contribute to this vision to help us create a high-skilled economy where every place can meet its potential.”

Today’s Green Paper launch follows the announcement of significant initial actions for the Industrial Strategy, including the £4.7bn increase in research and development funding, unveiled by the Chancellor Philip Hammond at last year’s Autumn Statement.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said: “As part of efforts to deliver an economy that works for everyone, the Government is equipping local people with the resources they need to drive forward local growth.”
Juergen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK, has been asked to lead the industrial digitalisation review by government. He said: “The launch of the industrial strategy green paper marks the start of an important journey for British industry. We need a robust industrial strategy to prepare our economy for the challenges and opportunities of the digital revolution in manufacturing and other sectors.

“The Industrial Digitalisation review will identify the impacts of digitalisation across UK industrial sectors and how government working in partnership with industry can maximise the opportunities from driving digitalisation.

“We aim to make proposals later this year for an Industrial Digitalisation Sector Deal. I am delighted to lead this important piece of work on behalf of industry which aims to benefit as many people and businesses across the UK as possible.”