North West views: Floorbrite’s Nina Wyers on the Northern Powerhouse
With the government’s vision of creating a Northern Powerhouse commanding the attention of the North West business community, particularly in the wake of the UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference & Exhibition, at Bdaily we’ve decided to run a new series of interviews to establish just what the region’s business leaders think of the plans.
Is the North West set for an overhaul in the coming years - one to turn the region into a true example of economic empowerment through business growth, job creation and prosperity?
Today we caught up with Nina Wyers, the marketing director at Sale-headquartered cleaning and facilities service provider Floorbrite.
What does the Northern Powerhouse mean to you?
The Northern Powerhouse is a very exciting concept for all of the northern regions. We feel proud to be a part of what could be the next industrial revolution. For Floorbrite in particular where our roots are in the North, we are excited about the new businesses and opportunities that are being attracted to our regions and the economic growth and developments that it will bring to everyone here.
Are there signs of the Northern Powerhouse starting to bear fruit in the region?
Definitely. On a daily basis we see new investors and development in our cities. National and Global organisations wanting a base up here to represent their brand outside London.
The investment and interest in Manchester Airport’s Airport City with the likes of Amazon looking to create 1500 new jobs there. The BBC at Media City, the largest purpose-built media location in Europe. The investment from China and the visit in October from Xi Jinping, China’s President.
We ourselves have gained new clients and have expanded with existing clients that have and are currently expanding up North, or clients that are doing so well from their northern bases that they now have other northern and midland facilities.
Has the government done enough to convince you of its commitment to Osborne’s vision?
Yes, we think that that the government can definitely see the potential in the North. We create 19% of the UK GDP. They have highlighted £24bn worth of projects that are available for investment and have drawn up blueprints for investing £13bn in our transport systems.
Whether that’s enough due to the current £42.6bn budget needed for the HS2, we definitely have some way to go at this point but seeing as George Osborne is MP for Tatton we can’t see him accepting failure.
Transport improvement is intrinsic to the Northern Powerhouse. Do you believe that spending billions of infrastructure will improve Northern productivity?
Absolutely. The Department for Transport says the HS2 project in particular will cut Manchester-London journeys from 2hr 8mins to 1hr 8min, and Birmingham-Leeds from 2hrs to 57min.
Developing high speed rail will address crippling capacity problems but will also bring our largest cities closer than ever before. This will make the North a better, more attractive place to live and do business.
Are there any other areas which you believe money should be spent on, ahead of transport?
Investment in skills will be a crucial element of building the Northern Powerhouse. The ‘North-South drift’ is something that needs to be reversed in order to enable the region to flourish and, of course, we will need more housing for all the jobs created in the region.
While Manchester is a key city in the government’s vision, do you think enough is being done to cater for other important North West towns and cities?
Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle with their surrounding towns and industries are also key to the Northern Powerhouse’s success and we need to make sure that their infrastructures too are robust enough with regards to transport, skills and housing. Devolution in particular is key to making the Northern Powerhouse a reality.
Specifically, Liverpool’s regeneration over the last few years has seen as influx of investment and it is a bright and vibrant business centre. They should definitely be included in the HS2 link and have even offered to pay two thirds of the bill to support the proposal.
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