Rishi Sunak says UK economy is ‘better’ than international peers
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By making the region attractive to investors the Centre for Policy Studies study predicts the effect could be comparable to the dramatic financial boom in London under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. New investment incentives, planning reforms and other pro-growth measures would help create thousands of high-quality jobs, the report argues.
By attracting high-productivity industries such as green technology the document insists the North could become the home for Boris Johnson’s much-trumpeted Green Industrial Revolution.
The study has been backed by the influential Northern Research Group of Tory MPs.
In recent decades, the study argues, London and the South East have monopolised investment, talent and attention.
At present, the Northern economy, measured by Gross Value Added per capita, is three quarters the size of England’s average.
But the paper sets out a series of recommendations on how to redress the balance and urges the Prime Minister to mirror the radicalism of his predecessor.
The report calls for a new Initial Investment Incentive – a cash payment to attract new investments and global capital to the region.
This could be focused explicitly on green growth and meeting Net Zero, for example by incentivising investment into new gigafactories.
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The measures we have put forward will help the Prime Minister and this Government to ‘level up’ the economy
Conservative MP Jake Berry
Other recommendations include leveraging UK Infrastructure Bank investments to unlock private sector investment where possible.
The paper also calls for automatic approval for planning applications which create more than 100 permanent new jobs in the region when they have not been determined within two months, and an optional, alternative, fast-track planning process for investors planning to plough £20 million into the local economy, or whose investment will unlock over 250 jobs.
Conservative MP Jake Berry, Chairman of the Northern Research Group, said:
“At the last election, millions of Northern voters broke with tradition by voting for the Conservative Party, in many cases for the first time.
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“The Prime Minister needs to recognise that they did so not only to deliver Brexit, but to voice the systemic disadvantages felt in many communities that were tired of being neglected in favour of London and the South East.
“The measures we have put forward will help the Prime Minister and this Government to ‘level up’ the economy and help make the North build back better as one of the most investable places in modern times.”
Nick King, Research Fellow at the CPS, said: “This Government has taken positive steps to deliver more public investment in infrastructure, but what the North needs is the scale of investment – and dynamism – that only the private sector can bring.
“There is a huge amount of domestic and global capital ready to be invested. Our recommendations are designed to make the North of England one of the most investable places on the planet and to unleash this capital through a Northern Big Bang.”
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