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ASSEMBLY'S LATEST SCRUTINY REPORT ON THE NORTHERN WAY

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More must be done to ensure the government's Northern Way initiative helps Yorkshire and Humber's transport infrast...
More must be done to ensure the government's Northern Way initiative helps Yorkshire and Humber's transport infrastructure, says a new report.

And those involved in both the Northern Way and Yorkshire Forward should specifically argue the case for additional investment to develop transport to and from the Humber ports to tackle the£30bn gap between the north and south.

The report, published by the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly, follows a scrutiny review on the opportunities offered to the region by the Northern Way. It looked at the three priority areas of the initiative - connectivity, innovation and the marketing of the north to the world and feeds directly into the new review: innovation.

The report Scrutiny of the Northern

Way Opportunities is available here

The Northern Way is the latest initiative to come under the spotlight of the assembly's 'scrutiny' role required by government to ensure money spent on economic development is well targeted. Information and comments were given by representatives of the business and public sectors and members of the assembly's scrutiny panel questioned representatives from Yorkshire Forward.

The Northern Way is a collaborative project between the three northern regional development agencies - Yorkshire Forward, ONE NorthEast and the Northwest Development Agency - to increase economic growth in the north of England and bridge the output gap with the south.

The initiative, which aims to exploit economic and transport links to boost the north as a business force in Europe, is backed by a£100m Growth Fund made up of£50m from the ODPM and£50m from the three Northern RDAs. This fund will be used to kick-start the strategy into practical action.

The panel also made a number of other recommendations. These include:

--The Northern Way should simplify and reduce the number of innovation initiatives to avoid saturating the market

--Research should be carried out to assess the capacity of the region's existing support for innovative businesses and demand for premises

--A regional communications strategy for the Northern Way should be developed to outline how public, private and voluntary sector organisations will be informed of progress and to clarify the role they can have in delivering the Northern Way

'The Northern Way Growth Strategy is a long term vision for addressing the productivity gap between the North and the South,' said panel chair Paul Jagger.

'I believe we've provided Yorkshire Forward with constructive views on how the Northern Way is working and identified areas where opportunities need to be maximised for the benefit of Yorkshire and Humber.

'The outcomes from this review will support Yorkshire Forward, the North West Development Agency and One North East in moving the Northern Way forward.'

Notes

Yorkshire and Humber Assembly

The Yorkshire and Humber Assembly is the strategic regional partnership, led by the region's 22 local authorities. It brings together key partners to promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of everyone who lives and works in the region. It is a voluntary organisation, with members drawn from local authorities and the social, environmental and economic sectors within the region.

Yorkshire Forward

Yorkshire Forward is the driving force behind the economic regeneration of the region, delivering a programme of change that will make a positive difference to our people, our businesses and our environment.

Background to the Scrutiny role

In March 1999, the government announced they would give additional funding and greater flexibility to regional development agencies in their spending.

At the same time, these agencies would be required to become more accountable within their regions through the designated regional chamber. The Yorkshire and Humber Assembly is the designated chamber for this region.

The review is the eighth carried out by the assembly to look at aspects of the RES. Previously the region's business start up support, the way health, education and other public sector investment is supporting the economy and efforts to improve economic opportunities for some of the poorest communities are among the subjects examined.

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