Northern Powerhouse: Where’s the funding?

The National Audit Office this week published a report which raises questions about the ability of the Government to deliver major projects over the next five years. The scope of the report is wide, focussing on the Government Major Projects Portfolio, and highlights that the current administration has committed £170bn of spending to 30 infrastructure projects.

The report states that a third of large Government projects due for delivery over the next five years are unlikely to be completed, unless remedial action is taken. Government departments have also been criticised for poor responses to recommendations to improve performance on major infrastructure schemes, such as HS2, which are seen as vital for the Northern Powerhouse project.

The Northern Powerhouse can lay claim to having had a successful start, and 2015 saw the term being thrown around a lot more by politicians and journalists alike, but concerns have previously been raised about the Government’s commitment to improving infrastructure across the North. This report may add to those reservations, with the National Audit Office further commenting on the poor track record of the public sector in delivering projects successfully.

The report makes for quite heavy reading this early in January, but nevertheless raises more questions about the ability of the Government to deliver projects which are seen as significant. In order to maintain the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse, investors may want to see some action following all of the rhetoric, and it will be interesting to see how the scheme is viewed over the coming years and whether the new National Infrastructure Commission will prioritise the Government projects which are key to the success of the Northern Powerhouse.

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