help get thousands of long-term unemployed people back into work and
finance other innovative projects to boost the north's economy,
deputy prime minister John Prescott, and the three northern regional
The funding will be used to bolster the government's additional nine
Pathways to Work pilot programmes across the north, announced by the
chancellor in the pre-budget report in December, to help meet the
Northern Way's goal to bring 100,000 people back into work by 2014.
The pilots, which aim to improve opportunities for people on
incapacity benefit to find employment, will be enhanced to address
particularly disadvantaged groups, health and childcare issues.
Mr Prescott unveiled the latest phase in the growth strategy Moving
Forward: The Northern Way, and the government's response at the
Delivering Sustainable Communities Summit in Manchester today.
The action plan, backed with an initial ODPM/RDA£100m growth fund,
aims to eradicate the£29bn productivity gap between the North
of England and the average of the other English regions by 2025.
The government's commitment to the Northern Way's success was also
emphasised today with the announcement that the new Academy for
Sustainable Skills will be based in Leeds. It will work with a wide
range of occupations and stakeholders to develop the integrated
skills needed to deliver places where people want to live and work.
A new forward looking strategy to improve the economic performance of
all regions was also launched today by the deputy prime minister.
Realising the Potential of All Our Regions shows how the Ggvernment
and regional development agencies will accelerate growth across
England through devolving decision making powers, increasing
employment, improving skills, and encouraging entrepreneurship and
Deputy prime minister John Prescott said:
'We are determined to increase prosperity in all regions both for the
benefit and sustainability of communities and for the success of the
country as a whole. There is a huge untapped potential for jobs and
growth across the regions, which we need to harness by making the
most of our people, infrastructure, and resources.
'Today's Northern Way Action Plan is major milestone in our efforts
to close the prosperity gap between the Northern regions and the rest
of the country. It is an ambitious and exciting plan for creating
thriving and sustainable communities, building on the record
investment the government is putting into the north.
'There is still a long way to go, but this report shows there is real
commitment from the government, RDAs, and other stakeholders to
deliver more jobs and prosperity through the Northern Way.'
Eight city regions - Liverpool/Merseyside, Central Lancashire,
Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull and Humber Ports, Tees Valley and
Tyne and Wear - have been identified as the core generators of the
new growth thenorth needs to bolster its economic performance.
Each city region will table a development programme to The Northern
Way steering group in May, detailing future activity in their area
based on the ten key themes of The Northern Way.
Early funding priorities for the Northern Way will include:
* Enhancing the government's nine Pathways to Work pilots in Durham,
Tees Valley, Sunderland, Barnsley and Rotherham, Liverpool, Greater
Mersey, Cumbria, Manchester and Lancashire West;
* Developing the economic evidence base for transport priorities in
* Supporting enterprise in education initiatives, such as A Women
Into Enterprise programme, helping drive a more entrepreneurial North
through the use of role models and mentors;
* Marketing the North, its assets and business potential to Europe,
North America and Australia.
Regional Development Agencies One NorthEast, Yorkshire Forward and
the Northwest Development Agency are leading the production of the
Graham Hall, the Northern Way chairman, said:
'This action plan shows our determination to work differently to
achieve our goals, with a series of early priorities to get the
growth strategy moving.'
Alan Clarke, One NorthEast chief executive, said:
'The Northern Way is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the North
to pool its strengths and work towards the greater goal of a
world-class economy coupled with a superb quality of life.
'One NorthEast will continue to lead the work on this important
project with our region's strengths in fields such as the chemicals
industry and scientific research and development playing a central
Martin Havenhand, Yorkshire Forward chief executive, said:
'Yorkshire Forward is delighted to be collaborating with colleagues
in the North West and North East to reduce disparities between the
North and other English regions. Yorkshire Forward has a critical
role in working with the steering group in focusing on key transport
priorities to address the£29bn economic gap.'
Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the Northwest Regional
Development Agency, said:
'We are delighted to be leading on the development of the knowledge,
skills and employment policies of The Northern Way. Harnessing the
skills and talents of our people will be crucial if we are to make a
real difference to the prosperity of the north.
The government also welcomed the publication today by the Midlands
and the South West regions of their first reports on how to achieve
improved economic growth in their regions to underpin sustainable
communities. Both Smart Growth: The Midlands Way and The Way Ahead:
Delivering Sustainable Communities in the South West, illustrate the
Government's determination to raise economic productivity in all
Juliet Williams, lead chairman for England's regional development
'The drive to create truly sustainable communities for future
generations is an ambition shared across all the English regions.
England's regional development agencies have a vital role to play in
ensuring that such growth has its roots in improved economic
performance across the country.
'The RDAs have been glad to embrace the government's sustainable
communities challenge through a series of far-reaching
regionally-based proposals. The Northern Way is now well established,
but similar blueprints have been worked up elsewhere. In the Midlands
and in my own region of the South West, we share a commitment to make
growth sustainable, and we are all determined to help put plans into
The government has also today announced the creation of two new Urban
Regeneration Companies (URCs) in the North West, to be established in
Blackpool and Central Salford.
Both URCs will improve the economic position of these two key areas,
as well as contributing to the economic growth of the wider
Manchester and West Lancashire sub regions.
The announcement brings to five the number of URCs in the North West,
which together will support the Northern Way Growth Strategy, and
deliver the objectives of the Sustainable Communities Plan.
1. The three Northern RDAs seized upon the desire of the deputy prime
minister to take forward work on a growth strategy to help close the
£29bn productivity gap between the region and the rest of the
country, in February 2004 as part of Making it Happen: The Northern
Way. The Sustainable Communities Plan is a long-term programme of
action backed by£38bn of investment to improve housing and
planning in order to build sustainable thriving communities. It
covers a wide agenda, which recognises that to develop communities,
in which people wish to live, housing policy needs to be linked to
improving economies, public services, transport and the environment
at a local level.
2. The Northern Way Growth Strategy, launched in September 2004,
backed with a£100m growth fund, aims to eradicate the£29bn
productivity gap between the North of England and the average of the
other English regions by 2025. See fact sheet for more details.
3. 'Realising the Potential of All Our Regions' is being jointly
published by the Government and the RDAs today. It explains how the
Government's aspiration to raise employment rates to 80% and to
substantially reduce the 12 million adults without qualifications,
alongside measures to devolve responsibility to the geographical
level where it will have the greatest impact, are the keys to
narrowing regional disparities. See fact sheet for more details.
4. The government today also published the State of Our Towns and
Cities interim Report. It presents research findings on the economic,
social and environmental performance of 56 English towns and cities.
A commitment to publish a full report on the State of our Towns and
Cities (SOCR) in 2005 was highlighted in the Urban White Paper,
issued in November 2000. There are already some key factors
emerging from the research which underline the importance of urban
areas to our national and regional economies; and reinforce the need
to narrow the gaps in progress and opportunity between our cities and
our regions. The research will conclude in November 2005 with a
Final Report that audits urban performance in England, provides
insights into how cities are changing, and offers a review of what drives urban change, lessons learned, and the policy implications.
5. URCs are companies limited by guarantee which are established by
local partners, and are designed to meet particular local and
sub-regional needs. They focus on physical development and address
the problems of economic decline. The founding members of the two
latest URCs will be the North West Development Agency, Blackpool
Borough Council, Salford City Council and English Partnerships. See
fact sheet for more details.