Responding to the Chancellor’s speech, KPMG’s Chairman in the North, Chris Hearld comments.
Chris Hearld, KPMG’s Chairman in the North, said:
“The Chancellor couldn’t have given businesses and citizens in the North a clearer message that the Northern Powerhouse remains a government priority than he did today, with a focus on productivity, the publication of a Northern Powerhouse Strategy and a reaffirmed commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail.
“With productivity in the North significantly lower than the UK average, the Chancellor was spot on to talk about addressing the UK’s own internal productivity gap as a key part of his ambition to raise our national productivity to competitive levels on the world stage. Without improving the North’s record in this measure, he won’t be able to achieve a significant boost nationally.
“As businesses across the North have been vocal in stressing, and as the new Northern Powerhouse Strategy references, a key barrier to pulling up our productivity socks is the lack of connectivity on patch. So, it was nothing less than a relief to hear the Chancellor reaffirm his commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail, which is a much needed piece of the transport infrastructure jigsaw required to address this challenge.
“The additional borrowing powers for Mayoral Combined Authorities is a further, welcome, green light to a more devolved future for the UK city regions, albeit, it keeps the pressure on them to develop in the form the government has specified.”
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