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Nick Hill

What a Northern Powerhouse in Yorkshire means to: NoEE chief executive, Andrew Palmer

As Bdaily’s Northern Powerhouse series continues to give the business people of Yorkshire the opportunity to voice their opinions on the the government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative, we speak with North of England Excellence, chief executive, Andrew Palmer

Andrew has previously worked as the CBI’s Director for Scotland and also Yorkshire & the Humber. He trained as a biomedical scientist and started his working career with the National Blood Authority before changing direction to become a business journalist on the Yorkshire Post.

Two years have now passed since George Osborne first announced the government’s aim of creating a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, and yet it can be argued that there is still very little understanding of what this actually is.

So let’s find out Andrew’s take on a Northern Powerhouse in Yorkshire.

Hi Anrew, so what do you think the Northern Powerhouse will do for Yorkshire?

In the short-term, the discussion and debate around the Northern Powerhouse is giving everyone in the north – not just those in Yorkshire – something tangible to focus on. Business leaders in Yorkshire and the other regions involved have a common aim which we can all work to achieve in collaboration with and alongside each other. Now is the time for organisations to examine what they need to do to improve their operations, in terms of skills and processes, in order to contribute effectively to the Northern Powerhouse. It will give Yorkshire a collaborative action plan for social and economic success.

What will the Northern Powerhouse do for NoEE?

As a pan-northern organisation, NoEE has always been conscious of the potential of the Northern Powerhouse. We work with some fantastic organisations whose operations span the north, the UK and in some cases the world and the Northern Powerhouse gives further credence to our drive for creating a culture of excellence that could be the envy of the rest of the UK.

Has the government done enough to convince you of its commitment to Osborne’s vision?

The government has set the agenda, and the north must now take up the challenge of realising the vision. It’s not something that will happen if the government alone supports it – we must all commit to the vision.

Connectivity has been a major driving force behind the Northern Powerhouse. Do you believe that spending billions on infrastructure will improve the economic climate in the North?

There is no doubt that reducing journey times and making travel for people and goods easier across the North will help us achieve our true economic potential.

What, if any, other sectors/industries should the government key in on to achieve a Northern Powerhouse?

It makes sense to engage the industries and organisations which are already making an impact, for example digital tech businesses are boosting economies across the North of England. But we must have collaborative leadership which plays to the strengths of the key cities that make up the Northern Powerhouse in order to create a truly dynamic region.

Are there any other areas which you believe money should be spent on, ahead of transport?

We do need significant investment in infrastructure, but we shouldn’t wait for this to happen before actively seeking ways to unlock additional funding to improve skills and productivity.

As with Sheffield, should the other regions in Yorkshire try to strike a devolution deal with the government?

We need to ensure the battle for devolution does not detract from the Northern Powerhouse vision.

Will the Northern Powerhouse be realised in Yorkshire?

When it is realised, it will be across the whole of the north and not just in Yorkshire, but we will see the economic and social benefits here through collaborative leadership.

Thank you Andrew.

Don’t miss our latest Northern Powerhouse coverage here. To nominate a Yorkshire business leader to be part of our new series, contact Nick at nick.hill@bdaily.co.uk.

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