The announcement from the Exchequer Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, of reforms to the Treasury Green Book is a welcome step in the right direction for the much-needed ‘levelling-up’ agenda.
The North is well positioned to lead the nation’s economic recovery and bolster its prosperity over the coming years, but in order to achieve this, the North needs more tools, resources and power to drive forward its potential.
If confirmed, reforms to the Treasury Green Book, which under the current formula penalises the North, would be a welcome start. It is imperative that any reform focuses on a needs-based approach, which priorities economic potential and considers social and environmental factors. Changing the way the Treasury decides on investments by no longer spending where growth is highest but where the interventions are most needed – like the North and other less productive regions – could reap real rewards for people, our economy and the Exchequer.
Although our region has been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to boast the infrastructure and capabilities which will be vital to the future prosperity of the country. For example, the North can catapult the nation to Net Zero carbon by 2050, it can significantly contribute and turbo-charge our trade, and our region is already the home to world renowned research institutions. To unlock this enormous potential, the North needs the sustained backing of central Government.
Only this week, a report published by the Northern Health Science Alliance reminded us of the sobering challenges our communities are facing from the pandemic. The nations recovery will be closely tied to the Norths recovery, making it vital that central Government works closely with the North.
As we look to rebuild our fragile economy from the pandemic, it is imperative that the Government presses ahead with its levelling-up agenda to provide our region with the economic and political instruments which would allow the North to reach its full potential.