Skip to main content

North West businesses call on infrastructure reform to level the playing field

Kevin Duffy, regional managing partner in the North West at leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM UK, said:

“It has been nine years since the term “Northern Powerhouse” was first coined, yet progress for increasing opportunity in the North has felt limited. With a short six-week campaign period for the UK general election, there is currently some uncertainty impacting businesses in the North West. However, one thing that is clear, for whichever party is appointed, is that infrastructure is high on the agenda. Businesses in the North want government to focus on productivity and an aligned infrastructure strategy for inward investment to regional cities, as in comparison to similar advanced economies, the UK remains more regionally divided. Investment zones mapped out in Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region will help to attract investment by leveraging our region’s expertise in advanced materials, manufacturing and life sciences, but we still don’t have a level playing field in order to thrive.”

He added:

“However, the North West saw the biggest rise in house prices across the UK in the year to April 2024, showing the housing market is recovering and an encouraging sign of regional growth. Inflation has also dropped back to the Bank of England’s 2% target last week (19 June), which should see real wages to rise rapidly for the rest of the year. In addition, national insurance cuts are boosting consumers’ spending power and with interest rates likely to fall from the summer, this will see rising consumer confidence as disposable incomes increase, leading to a consumer-spending led recovery, boosting retail, hospitality and tourism sectors in the region. This is especially important after a recent report from Centre for Cities found that failure to invest in the UK’s main regional cities has held back economic growth and productivity in cities including Manchester and Liverpool.

“North West businesses need the next government to take a holistic approach towards infrastructure reform, bringing together previously isolated policies to ensure greater connectivity across the UK and level the playing field. This will help to create high-value employment opportunities, enhance productivity and encourage economic growth, presenting career prospects in the North which rival London and the South East.”