BDO partner Ed Dwan
Richard Bell

Data highlights Northern Powerhouse fatigue as Gov unveils Industrial Strategy

Interest in the Government’s Northern Powerhouse vision has been rapidly declining over the last 12 months, according to new data.

Research from business advisory firm BDO, completed with digital agency theEword, has suggested that growth opportunities for businesses across the region were at risk as online searches for Northern Powerhouse matters dipped.

According to the study, which looked at over 100k online searches, the number performed regarding the Northern Powerhouse slid by 18% year on year.

In contrast, Northern Powerhouse searches soared by more than 1,000% in the year following former Chancellor George Osborne’s first outlining of his vision, back in 2014.

BDO’s North West head, partner Ed Dwan, said: “Our research shows that during the past two years, people have consistently searched for information about what the Northern Powerhouse is.

“We welcome the industrial strategy news today (January 23) as ambiguity has been causing people to lose interest in the Northern Powerhouse concept, which could have proven a missed opportunity for businesses across the region.”

He continued: “Although general online searches have been dropping, our research showed spikes when Andrew Percy MP was appointed as the new Northern Powerhouse minister and at the time of the Independent Economic Review. Searches are completed around key announcements as businesses believe these will signal the release of new information about what is next for the region.”

Ed explained explained that clarity regarding the “shape and practicalities” of the Northern Powerhouse, and how collaboration will be fostered across key cities of the North, should boost business confidence.

He added: “This could create renewed interest and conversations among companies, promoting new opportunities and proving positive for the regional economy against a backdrop of economic and political instability.”

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