Northern Powerhouse should focus on productivity, report says

A report by Centre of Cities has advised that the Northern Powerhouse will only succeed if more resources are spent on underperforming cities in the region.

The paper compared the North with the Rhine-Ruhr and Ranted regions in Germany and Holland, which the government cited as models for the Northern Powerhouse. The report found that the success of the regions was not due to extensive transport links between cities but due to ‘economic vibrancy’.

The report noted that the European regions were driven by the strong performance of individual cities, which were 40 per cent more productive than their counterparts in the Northern Powerhouse.

Centre for Cities’ chief executive, Alexandra Jones, said: “We can’t build a successful Northern Powerhouse without stronger, more productive cities. These big urban areas, such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle, have the most potential for growth in the region but are currently underperforming, especially in comparison to cities in more successful areas such as the Rhine-Ruhr and Randstad areas.

“Instead of spreading limited monies and political focus equally across the whole region, national and local policy-makers should concentrate most resources on addressing the economic challenges that big northern cities and their city regions face, as these have the greatest potential to deliver benefits for the North as a whole.”

The report advised leaders in the north to focus on finalising devolution deals as economies in the region were operated over city region scales, claiming governance at this level was necessary.

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