Conservative and Brexit voters in the north of England should be repaid with a “Northern Big Bang” built round private investment, a think tank has said. The report, A Northern Big Bang, which is due to be published today, notes how London and the southeast have dominated investment and attention over recent years. The northern economy is three quarters the size of England’s average, measured by gross value added per capita, and has some of the least productive areas in Europe. The pandemic has only widened the gap, with evidence suggesting that the effects of Covid-19 are causing more damage to local economies in areas already struggling. The report, written by Jake Berry, chairman of the Northern Research Group of MPs, and Nick King, from the Centre for Policy Studies and a former government adviser, sets out ambitious recommendations on measures to activate private sector investment and create a global economic powerhouse. It notes that there is an opportunity to help the region become home to a green industrial revolution. Among the measures the report suggests is an initial investment incentive — a cash payment to attract investments and global capital to the region. It states that this could be focused explicitly on green growth and meeting net zero emissions. Other recommendations include leveraging UK Infrastructure Bank investments to unlock private sector investment. It suggests automatic approval for planning applications that create more than 100 permanent jobs in the region when they have not been decided within two months. A fast-track planning process for investors looking to invest at least £20 million into the local economy is also recommended.
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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 which would help spur a Green Industrial Revolution.
Westmorland Gazette 15th Feb 2021 read more »