How new rail revolution is set to attract millions more workers to The North

Yorkshire Bank’s Group Business Banking Director on the impact of transport on small and medium-sized businesses

There’s an evolution taking place as The Northern Powerhouse Initiative sweeps through the region.

But could it put an end to transport woes for businesses?

Historically, challenges around transport have been big detractors for businesses setting up in the North.

Whether it be staff commuting to and from work or businesses moving stock around the country, the difficulties around transport place immense pressure on the daily operations of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

One in five SMEs say public transport in the region is poor, according to recent research by YouGov on behalf of Yorkshire Bank and The Telegraph’s Spark.

But The Northern Powerhouse Rail programme is key for easing this in the future. Currently around two million people can easily access the North’s largest economic centres, yet when Northern Powerhouse rail is delivered, Transport for the North predicts this will increase to 10 million – a sea change in connectivity.

Below, Yorkshire Bank's Business Banking Director, Gavin Opperman, answers the biggest questions on the issue…

How does the lack of public transport in the region affect small and medium-sized businesses?

It reduces the available geography from which workers can commute thereby restricting growth, innovation and overall prosperity within the region.

The transport of raw materials and essential elements of the production process can be more costly to obtain given the lack of a cohesive transport network as well.

The region has also struggled to retain business skills due to the pull of London and its appealing infrastructure systems. However, a lot of growth is taking place in the North. The region has made considerable progress from where it was a few years ago.

How does the availability of affordable housing in the North help small and medium-sized businesses?

 

 

The North has a distinct advantage over the South in relation to the affordability of housing which does work to the advantage of SMEs.

The advantage is seen in both retaining and attracting staff from other areas where affordability may be more challenging.

The key discussion is around mobility and the quality of life which is driven from an affordable housing stock. From an employee wellbeing point of view, the increased affordability of housing also has a positive impact on the productivity of members of staff.

Will infrastructure improvements in the North make regional areas more appealing to entrepreneurs?

Given it’s the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the North has a long history of supporting entrepreneurs and fostering innovation.

But this can only happen if the right people, goods and services can get to the right places in a cost effective and efficient way.

 

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Already within the North we have world class capabilities in advanced manufacturing, digital, energy and health innovation, all of which have a degree of entrepreneurial requirements. With this existing capability we need to connect people and goods together more easily through an improved infrastructure.

As a Bank, we have a responsibility here and we have allocated a lot of capital for lending into the North, spurring business growth.

  • Find financial support to help your business grow with a bank that works for you. Yorkshire Bank has services to keep your business finances on track. Visit ybonline.co.uk/business

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