THERE are three plausible explanations for companies in Yorkshire having less confidence in the Northern Powerhouse agenda than their counterparts elsewhere.
Either this region is lagging behind neighbouring areas when it comes to infrastructure investment, bosses are more parochial in their outlook – or they have become disengaged because of the ongoing political machinations over devolution.
As such, this survey by CYBG, owner of Yorkshire Bank, is a wake-up call that should be heeded. The Northern Powerhouse – and also the empowerment of metro-mayors – won’t fulfil its true potential if these agendas are simply left with the area’s political elite. Quite the opposite. They will only come to fruition, and prosper, if they involve entrepreneurs – the wealth-creators who know how to do deals and create jobs – and the public whose prosperity depends on the quality of decision-making.
And, given this, it’s welcome that CYB’s chief executive David Duffy is joining the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, the body set up by George Osborne, the former Chancellor, to look at what more can be done to advance small businesses – the backbone of the economy – and ensure that their needs are reflected in future policy-making.
For, while major investment by one global firm can be transformative, such as the impact of Siemens on Hull’s economy, the cumulative effect of a more dynamic SME sector will be just as significant, if not more so, if the right policies are in place. That work begins now.