Plans for the Northern Powerhouse scheme, designed to rival London and the South East as the main driver of economic growth in the country, could be in jeopardy following last week’s dramatic referendum result and David Cameron’s decision to step down as Prime Minister, while George Osborne, the Chancellor and the man behind the Northern Powerhouse idea, could soon follow suit or be forced out.
But the outcome of the EU vote makes the case for the Northern Powerhouse project more ‘compelling’ than ever, according to Martin Venning, director at UK Northern Powerhouse, organisers of the UK Northern Powerhouse Conference, which took place at Manchester Central earlier this year.
He said: “The result [of the EU referendum] makes the case for the UK Northern Powerhouse more compelling.
“Our stakeholders will continue to contribute to the process of building a stronger, more productive and stable Northern economy.
“The challenges of growth post Brexit will require innovation and new forms of collaboration which can create new opportunities for all. We expect to play our part in shaping that agenda.”
The Northern Powerhouse concept has already attracted a lot of investment, particularly from China, helping to push up property prices and rental values across many other parts of Manchester and surrounding areas.
“While the initial shock might be hard to swallow for some, the reality is that Manchester’s economy has never been stronger – and will only continue to grow,” said Ged McPartlin, sales director at Manchester-based sales and lettings agency Ascend Properties.
“The level of internal investment pouring into the city has reached many millions of pounds, spanning new homes, commercial ventures, offices and infrastructure. Manchester will also be seeing investment from China which will be going into Airport City, testament to the strength of the Northern Powerhouse. We are confident for the future,” he added.
Graham Davidson, managing director of Manchester-based Sequre Property Investment, is among those feeling more optimistic now that the EU referendum is over.
He commented: “The decision to leave is truly a once-in-a-lifetime decision and should now be embraced. The UK economy is going from strength to strength and the people of the UK have decided that now is the time for us to break away from the rest of Europe and gain back more control on our own future. Our economy continues to develop, particularly outside of London in light of the Northern Powerhouse agenda which is key to growth.
“Investment in Manchester over the past 12 months for example has been unprecedented and this month it was announced that MediaCityUK is set to double in size, with investment from UK companies creating thousands of new homes and job opportunities - a show of confidence in what we can achieve on our own. It’s safe to say The Northern Powerhouse agenda is well underway, and the referendum results being announced in Manchester’s town hall was testament to this.”
“The reasons for investing in UK property won’t change, with returns still outperforming all other forms of investment. Our own business is testament to this – enquiry levels have not declined despite what much of the media has portrayed; people understand that property investment can be highly rewarding, whether you are topping up your pension, saving for your children’s future or looking for additional regular income.”