Cheshire & Warrington LEP chairman Christine Gaskell is to become vice-chair of NP11, a Government-funded board comprising the North’s 11 Local Enterprise Partnership figureheads, brought together to promote the Northern Powerhouse.
NP11 is entirely separate from former Chancellor George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse Partnership, launched in September 2016, which mostly comprises large businesses and civic bodies, featuring the likes of Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson and Manchester leader Sir Richard Leese on its board.
Osborne’s group came into being at roughly the same time as Northern Powerhouse Partners, a more wide-ranging body which was set up by Government as a “partnership group” and like NP11 bears the official Northern Powerhouse logo.
The organisation was announced at the Northern Powerhouse Summit in Newcastle-Gateshead by Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry and is to “act as one voice representing each of their regions as a modern day Council for the North”.
NP11 will report quarterly to the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government. Its aim is to work with and advise the Government on issues such as how to increase productivity, overcome regional disparities in economic growth and tackle the north-south divide.
Berry said: “As we approach leaving the European Union we need to ensure that every area of the UK continues to economically flourish.
“The Northern Powerhouse will be a vital support to the UK in achieving this and so I am very pleased the eleven LEP Chairs have agreed to form the new NP11 board.
Berry looked to evoke King Edward IV, declaring: “For the first time since 1472, we will bring together the business voices of the Northern Powerhouse in our Council for the North. They have one task: to enrich all the peoples of the North of England – this is the foundation stone of the Northern Powerhouse and, with the skills and expertise of the NP11, we will shift the North’s economy into overdrive.
“They have one task: to enrich all the peoples of the North of England – this is the foundation stone of the Northern Powerhouse and, with the skills and expertise of the NP11, we will shift the North’s economy into overdrive.”
Gaskell said: “To translate the Northern Powerhouse concept into increasing impact requires new types of conversations across the region and at the heart of this collaboration are common goals which transcend local interests.
“The NP11 will serve as a strong coherent regional voice with national government about the exciting potential of an innovation-led economy for the North.”