Wednesday, July 15, 2015

News: FSB on Northern Powerhouse

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The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling for greater efforts to rebalance the economy away from London and the South East to ensure the vision of a prosperous Northern Powerhouse becomes a reality.

The FSB is the UK's largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms, representing around 200,000 small businesses.

A series of policy events are being organised by the FSB in the North of England to find out what Northern businesses need to grow and increase productivity - steps which are key to boosting the region’s economic potential.

The group has a number of key recommendations to deliver a strong Northern Powerhouse including improved transport infrastructure, increased broadband speeds, improved access to finance, supporting vocational qualifications and improving the engagement between Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and their small business communities.

Lord O'Neill, commercial secretary to the Treasury, whose portfolio includes driving forward plans on the Northern Powerhouse, said: "Building the Northern Powerhouse is vital to the Government's plans to rebalance the economy and end the decades-old gap between the north and south. Businesses are at the heart of this work and that's why we're investing in infrastructure, science and skills across the north as well as devolving powers to local leaders.

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of the northern economy and I am very pleased the FSB is taking such a proactive role in making sure they are at the heart of the debate."

Gordon Millward, regional chairman for the FSB, added: "The North/South divide has long been a stumbling block for the UK economy, and so we strongly welcome the Government's focus on building a Northern Powerhouse.

"Realising this vision will require increased investment and infrastructure spending in the North of England to boost regional growth, nurture a thriving business sector and get much needed transport connection improvements back on track.

"Greater Manchester gained a cascade of devolved powers in the Queen's Speech this year, when these begin Greater Manchester will be the test bed for regional devolution. If successful, this could be the blueprint for the rest of England.

"We look forward to working closely with local leaders and businesses in Greater Manchester and across the North of England to build a Northern Powerhouse that has the potential to generate lasting economic returns for the North."

FSB website

Images: FSB

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