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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

The state of the North 2016: Building northern resilience in an era of global uncertainty

IPPR North’s annual State of the North report for 2016 picks up on last year’s confidence and optimism, reflecting on a northern economy that continues to grow, and the excellent progress that has been made in building the region’s infrastructure. However, dark clouds are gathering on the horizon, and the northern mood is now much more uncertain. The political fallout from the Brexit vote has been severe, champions of the northern powerhouse have been lost from national government, and devolution deals appear to have stalled.

New opportunities must now be identified and seized on. For example, Greg Clark’s ambition to create a ‘place-based industrial strategy’ led by the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has the potential to ignite a new era of economic activism around some of the North’s major economic strengths.

“The fledgling and patchy development of combined authorities, metro mayors and devolution deals in the North means that the region is not well placed to formulate a coherent response to Brexit”

This year’s report addresses the three key issues – Brexit, industrial strategy and local economic resilience – that will build business confidence amid unpredictable times, and offers a comprehensive assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each LEP area in the region.

“The government’s place-based industrial strategy must build resilient local economies across the North. It cannot just subsidise large employers already here to persuade them to stay, it must aim to diversify the North’s economy, and resolve some of the fundamental challenges that persist”