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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

IPPR North comment on the Autumn Statement

TOPLINES:

  • Productivity key to boosting North's economy - it right that transport and skills are the focus of Northern Powerhouse strategy
  • Employment support devolution to London should also extend to the North's Metro Mayors
  • Spend fifth of R&D on northern life sciences to boost jobs and cut North-South health gap


FULL ANALYSIS WILL FOLLOW ON THE NORTHERN POWERHOUSE STRATEGY


Commenting on the Autumn Statement, Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, said:

"

The Chancellor is right to highlight the big strides being made by Northern businesses but jobs growth is only one part of the equation. We need to see significant improvements to productivity and to pay before Northerners recognise real benefits."


On £23bn in measures to boost productivity Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, said:

"While it is good to have a new strategy for unblocking Powerhouse productivity, this is no replacement for new investment. The Chancellor has missed yet another opportunity to make significant commitments to build transport infrastructure in the North while boosting connectivity between Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes. One hopes the announcements promised in the future will have more substance ahead of the critical roads and rail spending settlements planned for 2017.


"There needs to be a 'North First' commitment to HS3 - ahead of further commitments to Crossrail 2."
“And while infrastructure is crucial for productivity, so are skills. Northern Combined Authorities are making good use of their devolved powers including the Adult Education Budget and the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers. But the region needs investment to build the higher level skills which support innovation and growth”.


On devolving plans to get the "hardest to help" into jobs, to London government, Luke Raikes, research fellow at IPPR North, said:

"Devolving employment programmes to London will enable the capital to support the unemployed more effectively. This is very welcome, but if it’s good enough for London it’s good enough for the combined authorities across the North too.

"Furthermore, they will need to draw on the whole public sector to support the hardest to help most effectively."

See IPPR North's report calling for the new Work Programme's devolution here: http://www.ippr.org/publications/welfare-earnback


On affordable homes, Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, said:

"Plans to build more affordable homes are welcome but we need housing policies that recognise that England has not one housing market but many. We need to see a new devolution deal on housing where mayors and combined authorities commit to ambitious long-term housebuilding targets in return for an expanded menu of powers and resources transferred down from central government."


On City-Region borrowing powers, Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, said:

"Giving new borrowing powers to the new metro mayors will be a huge incentive to others who have yet to strike devolution deals but with the proposed abolition of the Public Works Loans Board it remains to be seen how far these new power will extend and how they will be used."


On £2bn for Research and Development, Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, said:

“The government is right to invest more in research and development, and in its move to spread prosperity beyond the capital should consider the regional impact of this money.
“Currently over 80 per cent of research funding goes to the South East’s ‘golden triangle’.
“Only this week, an IPPR North report found that investing catch-up cash for health research in the North could save lives and create good jobs.
“Committing to spending a fifth of this pot in the North - as the private sector does - would help rebalance the economy and boost the North’s world leading life sciences sector post-Brexit.”

See IPPR North's Health Innovation: Breathing Life into the Northern Powerhouse report here: http://www.ippr.org/publications/health-innovation-breathing-life-into-the-northern-powerhouse


Contact:

Ash Singleton, IPPR North external affairs manager, a.singleton@ippr.org, 07887 422 789