To consider the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review update.
Lead: Tim Foster
5.1 Members received the report and presentation from the Research Manager who highlighted the key points in his presentation.
5.2 Cllr Hughes requested clarity on who is leading on Northern Powerhouse as well as asking if a return to the Single Market will make a difference to the productivity gap between the North and South.
The Research Manager explained that delivery of the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review (NPIER) is the sole responsibility of TfN. He explained that TfN are joint commissioners of this work together with the NP11, and TfN are working alongside partners in the North. In response to the broader question as to who owns the Northern Powerhouse agenda the Interim Strategy and Programme Director explained that this is still unknown.
In response to the question on Freedom of Movement the Research Manager stated that as part of the Transformational scenario there would need to be many hundreds of thousands of additional jobs and where those jobs need to come from would require further discussions with partners.
5.3 Cllr Furley enquired as to the time span that the data had been collected over.
The Research Manager explained that the data is the latest available. He stated that different indicators have different time spans with the Labour Market data having been gathered in recent months and other data being older. He further explained that the data includes the impact of the pandemic meaning a weaker starting point in terms of productivity.
Cllr Furley further asked if the projection of growth each year will continue to happen even with the current financial situation, allowing the North to eventually match the rest of the country.
The Research Manager explained that the data presented used Cambridge’s annual forecast for 2022 which was produced in March as a baseline. He explained that the work presented to the Committee is from the original baseline but this will be updated in the final published work and will reflect the weaknesses and downturn in the current economy.
5.4 Cllr Frost asked if the LEPs have been worked with and is the work they are doing been taken into account.
In response the Research Manager stated that the LEPs have been engaged with this programme. He explained that consultants held workshops with the 11 LEPs across the North with officers also in attendance, with the consultants reviewing the Strategic Economic Plans in each area. He stated that TfN intends to publish the Local Area Profiles which includes these plans in order to show the body of evidence that underpins how the scenarios have been developed. In relation to skills, he highlighted the importance of education and skills spending and stated it is about creating growth that is socially inclusive and decarbonises the economy.
5.5 Cllr O’Connor highlighted the importance of both care and retail sectors and enquired as to the type of high-end jobs being looked at to attract into the area.
The Research Manager explained that these jobs are in the prime and enabling sectors of the economy, and these perform well in the transformational scenario, amongst these there is jobs growth in the advanced manufacturing and energy sectors as well as investment in land transport.
He also highlighted the importance of the foundational economy (sectors which allow people to live their day to day lives) which includes things such as care and food production.
5.6 The Chair stated that the report has given the Committee a complete background with regards to the economy across the North of England and requested that all Members receive the final presentation that will be sent to Board. He explained that this will allow Members to contribute some of the important information to their own authorities. He further stated that the North needs someone to take the lead on this together for the North.
That the Committee notes the update and the intention to brief TfN Board on the emerging conclusions in December.