IPPR think tank launch £1,000 competition for the next big Northern idea

IPPR North calls for major infrastructure ideas as region is offered a chance to win £1m-worth of advertising at Heathrow Airport

Ed Cox of IPPR speech
Ed Cox of IPPR speech

A competition to find the next big spending project which would transform the North is on.

Researchers at the IPPR North think tank have launched an any-takers £1,000 competition as they look for major infrastructure ideas from the public, with another competition for professional civil engineering projects also running.

The IPPR call comes after years of under-invesment in North East infrastructure, with Labour and the coalition both facing accusations of a Southern bias when it comes to major spending decisions.

While London sees work continue on the £16bn Crossrail project and detailed plans start to emerge for a £50bn High Speed Railway line from the capital, the North has seen only relatively smaller scale projects win approval.

Ed Cox, director or IPPR North, said it was clear the three Northern regions needed an ambitious plan for growth.

He added: “Effective infrastructure is a key ingredient for an effective and efficient economy.

“Through the competition, we hope to identify a small number of large-scale infrastructure projects that could have a transformative effect on the northern, and national, economy.”

Andrew Matthews/PA Wire The Crossrail project is just one of the London schemes that gobble up the lion’s share of the national transport budget
The Crossrail project is just one of the London schemes that gobble up the lion’s share of the national transport budget

The competition, open to under 25s, is seeking ideas which are imaginative and will address future infrastructure needs.

The £1,000 pot is funded by Heathrow Airport, which is also holding a competition in which the public can vote for their favourite British region to receive £1m of free advertising at the airport.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, which markets NewcastleGateshead on a national and international stage, said: “We were delighted to hear about this competition which provides an opportunity to profile and promote North East England to millions of travellers passing through Heathrow Airport – for free!

“Such high profile advertising can really help to change perceptions and put the region on the map and would add significant value to the work that we, and colleagues across the region, do to attract visitors here.

“Tourism is a valuable part of the regional economy, worth around £4.2bn annually.”

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