Europe

Northern Powerhouse: now on the risk list?

The North of England voted strongly for Brexit, but there are concerns that big infrastructure programmes will be delayed

The Northern Powerhouse is at risk if the government shifts its priority away from driving growth in UK cities and towards devolving powers from Brussels to Whitehall, the industry has warned.

The North of England voted strongly for Brexit, but there are concerns that big infrastructure programmes such as HS2 and devolution deals, both with a Northern focus, will be delayed if public funding is slashed and resources are diverted to negotiating a Brexit deal.

One Manchester property agent said many  developments were now on the risk list.

“The Northern Powerhouse has to be at risk now as [chancellor George] Osborne is toast,” he added.

Osborne has spearheaded the Northern Powerhouse agenda, but after announcing he will not stand for Conservative leader, his future political role is unclear.

Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said the government’s devolution agenda was at risk of coming to a “standstill” as the political focus turned to Brussels.

The response came as a National Audit Office report warned that the HS2’s 2026 target opening date for phase 1 was unrealistic.

But transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin promised transport spending would rise by 50% in this parliament, with £13bn pledged for the North and further progress on HS3.

Yorkshire-based Caddick Developments’ director Johnny Caddick said the regions could be worst hit by “stagnation” in the property sector.

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