The chancellor’s recent Budget kickstarted the HS3 rail project between Manchester and Leeds. However, a high-speed north:south rail connection would also be hugely beneficial, yet talk of HS2 has gone quiet recently.
Transport really is key. Cambridge, less than an hour away from London by train, boasts a burgeoning tech scene with global giants and hometown heroes working side by side. Connecting the cities in the North of England to London, and offering similar journey times, could really help boost business.
There also needs to be the local infrastructure to back this up, supporting the major routes with further developments so businesses in smaller towns are not left in the dark.
Investment in tech
For all the planned boosts to transport, talk of a brain drain? has featured prevalently in any discussion of business in the North of England. All these cities have top-class universities producing impressive talent, but more needs to be done to retain graduates and help turn these areas into the next tech hotspots.
When we spoke to him about it, Jonathan Hughes, of Leeds-based tech startup Bizdaq, said: Further investment to bring an array of leading technology companies will halt the exodus of talent to London and crucially attract good people to the region.
Science and innovation audits have been mooted and there is proposed direct investment in schemes such as the Sheffield Enterprise Zone and Newcastle’s Institute for Smart Data. Increased provision of R&D tax credits would also go a long way to securing the future of innovation in the North of England.
More businesses taking the plunge
While the government moved Northern Powerhouse HQ from Sheffield to London, many other businesses are taking the opposite route. Most notably the BBC moved to Salford, while the FT reported as many as seven other global giants have considered making a similar move. The more businesses that follow suit, the more outstanding the North of England will appear as a business destination.
The most obvious benefits are financial ones:.Last year we found office space in each of the five aforementioned cities, per desk, comes in at less than half the price of the equivalent space in the capital. This is just one of a whole number of incentives for businesses willing to take the plunge and head north beyond the M25.
Peter Ames is the head of strategy for Office Genie, the first desk space marketplace in the UK under the umbrella of Genie Ventures (a digital marketing and e-commerce company). The site is responsible for letting out millions of pounds worth of space to the country's small businesses and freelancers.
George Osborne has described High Speed 2 as a vital investment? which will change the economic geography of the country. In a speech he made in Manchester in 2014, the chancellor emphasised the importance of the project to the creation of a Northern Powerhouse and to shifting the vast inequality of economic power in the country away from the South East. more»
Thanks to the way he's scaled up his business and the level of customer service he's maintained along the way, Lee Eaton, who runs Signs Express in south Manchester, was named the British Franchise Association's HSBC Franchisee of the Year in October 2015.