Digital technology and “advanced manufacturing” has the potential to transform the north’s economy, adding 850,000 jobs by 2050, according to a major report published today.
It identifies the energy and “health innovation” sectors as “key capabilities” which could inject £97 billion into the region’s economy.
The Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review has been commissioned by Transport for the North, a government body created in 2014 which speaks for local authorities across the north.
Chairman John Cridland said: “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.”
He said 850,000 jobs would be “directly attributable to the success of the Northern Powerhouse” and that productivity to rise by 15 per cent, adding, that it would “represent a major step-change for the north”.
The North currently trails the rest of the UK, especially London, in productivity and jobs, despite having double the capital’s population.
The report - the first to have been commissioned for the entire region, marks a landmark development in the evolution of the government’s Northern Powerhouse.
Mr Cridland said: “This Review will be fundamental for future planning. 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.
“The Review clearly identifies that such a network must be tailored and shaped to recognise emerging and sustainable strengths whilst acknowledging that many Northern jobs are in other service sector businesses on every Northern high street. 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.”
But he warned that delivering “transformational change”, including major new road and rail routes, would need “a step-change in investment strategy” and “long-term collaboration between key partners across the North”.
Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord O’Neill said: “This Review represents a hugely important milestone for the Northern Powerhouse and supports this government’s commitment to rebalance the economy.
“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. We will continue to work together to make the North an even better place to live, work and invest in and remind the world that the region is open for business.”
Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said: “We are committed to bringing together the great cities and towns of the North to become a powerhouse for our economy. This Review shows how this could create hundreds of thousands of jobs and deliver a multibillion-pound boost to the economy right across the Northern Powerhouse.”