What has the Northern Powerhouse done for Manchester?
The Northern Powerhouse initiative was introduced by previous Chancellor George Osbourne and promised to kick start the economies of the North and address the historic North/South divide in the UK. Manchester has played a key role in the Northern Powerhouse plan as the UKs second city, with many accomplishments that challenge London and its reputation as the best place in the UK to invest. But what has the Northern Powerhouse done for Manchester? Has it delivered everything it promised?
The Northern Powerhouse promised to bring increased connectivity between the key cities of the North, through better transportation and coordination. Recent infrastructure improvements like HS2 and improvements to road networks mean that the North is far more accessible. The forthcoming high-speed rail network will link major cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds to London and the South. At a projected cost of £56 billion, the ambitious plans to connect the North and London by way of a high-speed rail link are going to have a large impact on Manchester and its long-term future. As well as this, Manchester has the busiest airport outside of London which is set to receive a £1 billion boost. The new ‘Super Terminal’ will be the largest construction project ever in the Greater Manchester region and connect the Northern city to the rest of the world.
Another major goal of the Northern Powerhouse plan was to bring increased investment from both home and abroad to these key cities. This has certainly been realised in Manchester, where major projects have been transforming the city. Some noteworthy investments include £110 million into the Factory Arts Venue, 3,000 new homes at St Johns Quarter, £1 billion of new homes around Murray Mills, £800 million invested in Airport City and £235 million in the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials. These major projects have all brought a huge boost to the Manchester economy, cementing its reputation as a great place to live and work. A number of ambitious schemes and plans have allowed Manchester to rise as one of the hottest locations in the UK.
Property investment is another area where the Northern Powerhouse rivals London. In a recent study by Totally Money it was found that most of the best performing postcodes in the UK when it came to rental yields were in the Northern Powerhouse region. Manchester’s M14 postcode, covering two university campuses in the city, had average rental yields of 10.08%. Compare this to London’s N14 Southgate postcode which has rental yields of 2.61% and Manchester’s appeal becomes obvious. Property investment firms like RW Invest are seeing an increasing interest in cities in the North from investors from both home and abroad.
The Northern Powerhouse has given the city increased attention and investment, which has had a huge impact. Many of the Northern Powerhouse promises are still to be realised, like HS2 and Manchester Airport Super Terminal, but completion dates have been decided and the plans look set to go ahead. Such an ambitious goal will take time but it looks like the Northern Powerhouse has already started to fuel Manchester’s increasingly impressive growth.