Northern business leaders hand their Budget wishlist to Government

A £40m investment into a northern green energy programme would add £2bn a year to the economy, a group of business leaders has told the Government.

The chairs of 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) - known as the Northern Powerhouse 11 (NP11) - met Government ministers and MPs in Parliament on Monday ahead of the Budget on March 11.

And they handed over their priorities for investment in projects which will boost the North next month.

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This included proposals to help boost innovation across flagship northern industries and to significantly enhance trade, investment, and connectivity across the North’s towns, cities, ports and airports.

Roger Marsh OBE. Photo: JPI MediaRoger Marsh OBE. Photo: JPI Media
Roger Marsh OBE. Photo: JPI Media

But at the core of the proposal is a £40m investment to help develop a ‘Net Zero North’ clean energy programme over three years. This is intended to build on the region’s internationally recognised energy expertise and to deliver transformational pan-northern projects, huge export opportunities and collaborative growth technologies.

The group estimates Net Zero North could add more than £2bn a year to the energy economy and create more than 100,000 new green jobs.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the NP11 Board and Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our Government has rightly recognised the North’s central role in levelling up the national economy following the UK’s departure from the EU. We’re now calling on the Government to show the extent of this commitment by ensuring that its Budget on 11 March is a Budget for the North.

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“In particular we need further investment into some of the North’s most promising developments and sectors, which include clean energy, transport infrastructure, and trade and investment opportunities. The evidence-based proposals we’ve put forward today have potential to bring huge benefits to the 16m people who live in our region and can help to turbo-charge Britain’s post-Brexit economy.”

The NP11 has also called for a £67m investment over three years to unlock new trade and investment opportunities.

The proposal aims to close longstanding productivity and growth gaps between the North and the rest of the UK by raising exports to 30 per cent of the Northern Powerhouse’s GDP by 2030.

It also aims to reduce the North’s dependence on domestic markets by seeking to match the UK average of 9.6 per cent of firms exporting, through internationalisation of the North’s economy.