Budget 2016: Not enough for Northern Business

The government has once again expressed dedication to ending decades of slow northern growth with this Budget. However, while it is taking the initiative on developing transport infrastructure in regional cities, to make the northern powerhouse a reality, we still need more investment in digital framework, such as putting resources into heavy-duty networking capabilities to serve growing business hubs, or delivering on promises to install premium-grade broadband in business districts across the North.

While Osborne acknowledged the imminent arrival of 5G technology will bring forward the government’s innovation proposals, there must targeted investment in digital northern infrastructure, which so far has remained largely theoretical. Recent devolution initiatives are a good first step towards regional empowerment, but more investment in connectivity and collaboration is required to enable northern-based enterprise to compete on a global stage.

“Investing in northern education is yet another step in the right direction – however, the government must also ensure that training programmes and apprenticeships are developed outside the M25. Further to school education, young businessmen and women should be given a supportive environment in which to develop the high–level business competences required to succeed. A strong skills–based strategy will be key to fostering a new generation of British entrepreneurs. In turn, this ensures the UK can continue to compete in the global economy.