Investment into high-tech industries could deliver £97bn for the economy of northern England and create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next three decades, a study has found.
The study, called the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review, identified four key areas with the potential to deliver the growth. These areas, traditional strengths of the north according to the report, are digital technologies, health innovation, energy and advanced manufacturing. It was published by Transport for the North, a body set up last year to oversee the long-term transport investment strategy in northern England.
"This review clearly identifies that, if the right investment and focus is put into these capabilities, and the infrastructure is there to support them, then 1.56 million new jobs could be generated by 2050,” said John Cridland, Transport for the North chair.
“Close to a million (850,000) of these will be directly attributable to the success of the Northern Powerhouse and we would expect productivity to be 15 per cent higher than currently which, in itself, would represent a major step-change for the north."
The four high-tech areas, dubbed the ‘prime capabilities’ in the report, currently account for 30 per cent of jobs in northern England, the report says. To enable the development, three key underlining issues need to be addressed, namely education, logistics and financial and professional services.
"Central to powering the north's future economy will be an efficient high-capacity transport network capable of fully mobilising the workforce between the north's key economic heartlands," Cridland said.
"In addition to this, improved education will also be vital in northern schools to give young people the chance to go for better jobs using the improved transport links we are delivering."
Transport infrastructure improvements required to deliver the vision would include major new rail and road routes that would improve connectivity between the major northern cities.
"This review represents a hugely important milestone for the Northern Powerhouse and supports this government's commitment to rebalance the economy,” said Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord O'Neill.
"As the Chancellor has said, the referendum result is even more of an instruction to deliver on our work to build a Northern Powerhouse and so it is hugely encouraging that the region's leaders are working together to set out their long-term priorities.”