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All four newcomers to the Partner Programme have a strong manufacturing presence in the North
Richard Bell

Big names sign as Northern Powerhouse partners as region’s economy surpasses half of Europe

A group of national and international brands have signed up as Northern Powerhouse partners.

Footwear company New Balance, tech giant Hitachi, manufacturer Playdale and data centre equipment business Techbuyer are the latest firms to join the Government’s Northern Powerhouse Partners Programme.

The initiative, which brings together organisations from across the North, works to support the need for a combined effort from Government and business to realise the region’s full economic potential.

The announcement coincides with new statistics revealing that the Northern Powerhouse is now worth more than £330bn a year to the UK economy – making it a bigger than the economies of many European nations.

Since 2014, exports have steadily increased and the region now supports around 20% of the UK’s total exports, worth £60bn last year.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP said: “Having these trailblazing exporters join the Northern Powerhouse Partners programme is a real boost to our efforts to fuel enterprise and growth in the North of England.

“As we seize the opportunities that come with leaving the European Union, it will be the manufacturers of the Northern Powerhouse that will help us deliver a strong and resilient economy fit for the future.”

Trade Minister Graham Stuart MP commented: “Exporters are the driving force behind the Northern Powerhouse’s economy and I am delighted to see four fantastic examples of industry and innovation become Northern Powerhouse Partners.

“Through trade missions tailored to northern businesses and one-to-one support from our locally based expert international trade advisers, the Department for International Trade is helping thousands of businesses across the Northern Powerhouse achieve their export ambitions.”

All four newcomers to the Partner Programme have a strong manufacturing presence in the North.

New Balance’s UK arm employs 270 in Flimby, Cumbria, where it produces 500,000 pairs of shoes a year.

Hitachi operates a state-of-the-art train factory in County Durham, employing more than 730 staff.

Playdale, a manufacturer of children’s play areas, is headquartered on the edge of the Lake District in Cumbria. It has created more than 22,000 play areas in 47 countries to date.

Techbuyer buys, refurbishes and sells data centre equipment from its plant in Harrogate.

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