Rebalancing the economy 'essential for national success'

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The FSB supports plans to develop a stronger northern economy

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is to host a series of policy events that will focus on delivering the message that economic improvements in the north of England are essential for the future wellbeing of the nation as a whole.

Building on the government's commitment to deliver a 'northern powerhouse' during the course of this parliament, the FSB has set forth some key recommendations that the body believes will be integral to achieving this.

  • Road networks across the north must be upgraded to better enhance the flow of goods and services (a tunnelled trans-Pennine road route would be particularly beneficial).
  • A new Universal Service Obligation for broadband speeds of 10 Mbps or more should be introduced.
  • The benefits of vocational training must be pushed hard to the next generation of skilled youngsters.
  • Support for regional airports across the north must be increased.
  • Improvements are needed in how Local Enterprise Partnerships in England engage with local small business communities.

FSB national chairman John Allan stated: "As the 'northern powerhouse' concept takes shape, the FSB wants to make sure small businesses in the north of England are at the heart of the debate and given the support and backing they need by local and national government to grow and invest."

Mr Allan's sentiment was echoed by FSB policy director Mike Cherry, who argued realising the vision of a more balanced economy in the years ahead will take considerable effort and investment, but it is achievable.

"The north/south divide has long been a stumbling block for the UK economy, and so we strongly welcome the government's focus on building a northern powerhouse," he concluded.