Recovery for all: how the Northern Powerhouse can lead the economic recovery


  • Polling demonstrates huge support for investment in education, green jobs and fibre broadband
  • Proposals show how the government can achieve their levelling-up agenda and kickstart the post-Covid recovery
  • Significant backing for further devolution deals across the North, alongside more powers for existing Mayors to lead economic upturn
  • HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail essential for green growth and economic rebalancing

The Northern Powerhouse can play a major role in the UK’s economic recovery from the coronavirus, proposals set out today claim.

Investing in green energy, providing targeted educational support for the North’s most disadvantaged families and funding major infrastructure improvement in both transport and connectivity could allow the government to level-up the UK economy.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership has today published five recommendations for how the government can rebalance the economy – creating thousands of jobs and significant economic growth by maximising the potential of the North.

The proposals – backed by major UK businesses – are supported by polling of more than 1,700 people across the North. Results show high levels of support for greater local control in the form of devolution, with eight in ten Northeners indicating support for boosting training and education funding and around one in two backing investment in roads, rail and fibre broadband.

Central to the economic recovery is improving Northern infrastructure. The High Speed North project is expected to set out a way forward for both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) to be delivered. But there are a number of rail and road upgrade schemes – such as improving the Hope Valley Line between Sheffield and Manchester, upgrading the West Cumbrian rail line for freight and commuting, and making Darlington station HS2 and NPR ready – which could be started immediately, providing shovel-ready schemes to get the economy moving.

Ensuring that fibre broadband connectivity is as good in ‘left-behind’ towns in the North as it is in major cities is also seen as vital to allowing those who can work from home to be as productive as possible during the crisis and beyond.

Northern Powerhouse Partnership Director Henri Murison said:

“The Northern Powerhouse is an economic vision to increase the contribution the North makes to the UK economy. Never has that been more relevant than now as we attempt to emerge from this terrible pandemic.

“Our proposals today set out five practical, deliverable investments that the government could embrace to allow the UK economy to grow again, creating jobs in new, green industries and help to transform the productivity of the North.”

Tristia Harrison, CEO of TalkTalk, said:

“As our lives increasingly move online, access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband has never been so important. 

“Building world-class digital infrastructure, alongside the immediate jobs this will create, will be central to the economic recovery, especially in the North.  Better internet is part of the step change we need to level the playing field and create the right environment so that our towns and cities can thrive.

“Industry, regulators and government must now work together to get new networks rolled-out as quickly as possible – it can’t come fast enough for homes and businesses across the North.”

The five proposals are:

  • Providing training for those who have lost their jobs or left school during the Coronavirus lockdown
    NPP Proposal; Devolve all of skills funding to existing Mayors alongside accelerating devolution to areas in North which still waiting for it, including Cheshire and Warrington, and Cumbria. 
  • Providing extra teaching for children who have fallen behind in school work during the crisis
    NPP Proposal; Initial £300 million of funding across in England in addition to better targeting projected higher pupil premium spend next year from free school meal entitlement.
  • Green energy jobs
    NPP Proposal; Roll out of Small Modular Reactor factory based building programme, establishment of at least one Carbon Capture and Storage cluster in Northern Powerhouse and expansion of jobs in wind, tidal and battery storage supply chains for major schemes.
  • Building new railways and roads
    NPP Proposal; Shovel ready projects to create and secure jobs and cut carbon emissions in the longer term. Specifically, accelerate elements of High Speed North, such as Leeds to Newcastle and Sheffield to Manchester, as well as starting on new lines between Leeds and Manchester/Liverpool where possible.
  • Providing faster broadband to every household
    NPP Proposal: Full fibre to the premises accelerated for left behind towns, from Winsford to Whitehaven, Castleford to Consett, alongside 5G rollout.


  • Across those we polled across the Northern Powerhouse over a half of those who gave an opinion support increasing taxes or reducing spending in other areas to fund investing in rebuilding jobs and infrastructure in the aftermath of the Coronavirus lockdown (55.7%)
  • High support for more powers for Mayors when the health crisis is over, including where there are no mayors at the moment. Of those who gave an opinion, over half of Northerners support more powers, and less than a quarter oppose (53%)
  • More than seven out of every 10 Northerners who gave an opinion support more jobs from Green Energy. Examples of these where we think we should invest are CCU and SMRs.
  • Less than 1/4 of Northerners are satisfied about the availability of a choice of good jobs – that’s aside from the lockdown and its effects.
  • Of those who gave an opinion, a majority of Northerners support our intervention plans:
  1. Eight out of every ten Northerners support providing training for those who have lost their jobs or left school during the Coronavirus lockdown. (86.5%)
  2. Eight out of every ten Northerners support providing extra teaching for children who have fallen behind in school work during the crisis. (83.2%)
  3. Seven out of every ten Northerners support  developing more jobs from generating green energy (74%)
  4. Six out of every ten Northerners support providing faster broadband to every household’ (60.4%)
  5. Five out of every ten Northerners support building new roads and railways (50%)

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,767 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 11th May 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults in the North of England (aged 18+).

Media Enquiries

For media enquiries and interview requests, please contact the press office on:

07885 489003

Get involved...

There are a number of ways you can help drive forward the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

Get involved

Our Members

Working with businesses and organisations across the North