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Bridging the economic divide


Centuries ago the North was the heartland of an industrial revolution that would establish Britain as the world’s leading economic power. The globalised economy of the second half of the 20th century saw the offshoring of many developed nations’ heavy industries – and the economic balance shifted to London.

However, a recalibration is on the cards. George Osborne’s Chancellorship has been marked by his commitment to developing the Northern economy, and last week’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review provided us with a further insight into the development of his Northern Powerhouse project. Among the measures outlined by the Cheshire MP was the strengthening of transport connections within the region, and the establishment of a £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund for small and medium enterprises.

While Mr Osborne’s capacity to create a Northern economy that can compete with London has attracted criticism from certain quarters, policymakers need to address the divide in the country’s economic opportunities.  While it is fantastic for accounting and finance professionals to have one of the world’s premier financial centres as our capital city, it is important that UK plc is strong as a whole so the nation can continue to compete successfully on a global scale.

Two thirds of financial and professional services jobs are based outside of London, so providing a boost to the UK as a whole means this country’s expertise in accountancy, banking and insurance can be sold as a package – with the emphasis not just on London firms alone.

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