defining the northern powerhouse


  • The Northern Powerhouse is the region encompassing the six great Northern cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle.
  • It includes not only the cities themselves – as key nodes of economic activity – but the many places in-between that all contribute to a thriving region.
  • It has fuzzy edges reflecting the fact that flows of business and people cannot be contained by administrative boundaries.


  • With a population of 15 million – over twice the size of Scotland – the Northern Powerhouse will be built up by its people.
  • Our own skills and ideas, our businesses, our universities and public institutions, our leaders, our investors and ultimately our children will be those that make the North of England great.
  • Our ability to attract and welcome new people will also be critical to our future success.


  • The problem facing the Northern Powerhouse is that our economic productivity lags behind that of similar regions in other developed nations.
  • This means there is less prosperity to share and our poverty expresses itself in many costly ways.
  • There are complex reasons for this but three issues that are prominent in addressing this problem are: education and skills; transport connectivity; and the way we do business and to create the wider conditions in which businesses can thrive (our innovation ecosystem).


  • More than a million businesses employ more than 5 million people and generate £556 billion in turnover – but if we could match the national average in economic output per head we could have over 20 per cent more wealth to share around.
  • Our cities are growing – in economic terms they have grow nearly 40% in the past 10 years and their populations have grown by half a million in the 10 years to 2014.
  • We have 29 universities producing 78,000 new graduates every year.


  • The Northern Powerhouse is a programme of activity to stimulate the drivers of economic productivity.
  • This includes investment in transport and other infrastructure assets but it also involves action on education and skills, on science and innovation, and in other areas such as housing and planning.
  • The Northern Powerhouse programme is related to activities to devolve more powers to city-regions and beyond to give them more autonomy to shape their local economies.
  • The Northern Powerhouse is not about displacing economic activity from other regions of the country.