Autumn Statement could boost 'Northern Powerhouse', says EY expert

Stuart Watson says a number of measures from the Chancellor could be good for Northern business, both in the medium and long-term

Stuart Watson
Stuart Watson

The Northern economy is likely to benefit from measures in the Autumn Statement concerning the likes of infrastructure and innovation, according to an expert at EY.

Stuart Watson, Yorkshire and Humberside senior partner at the global professional services firm, said: “The North’s business community, as well as public sector leaders, will be watching with keen interest on December 3 to see if the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is indeed the centrepiece of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

“Over the last few months we’ve seen company leaders enter the debate around a unified Northern economy.

“They understand that any integrated economic strategy for the North must deliver for its business community to ensure the best possible results, and are engaging with Government, local authorities and each other to maximise the benefits growth measures can deliver and put forward their views.

“We should expect to see a number of measures from the Chancellor, particularly around infrastructure, and technology and science innovation, which in the longer-term will help to increase the competitiveness of the North and, in the medium-term, create growth opportunities for regional businesses through these projects’ supply chains.”

Mr Watson said it was “pleasing” to learn of a £15bn investment in England’s roads, from which the North will benefit.

He added, however: “Now, what we need is more clarity and support around the next steps for HS3 and the One North transport plan, which itself is a prime example of important pan-Northern collaboration and would be welcomed by many business leaders in helping to pave the way for a better connected North.

“We could also hear more on how innovation and development across potential infrastructure schemes like One North could qualify for tax relief, and make an even stronger business case for ensuring these programmes deliver.”

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