Osborne says Brexit result caused by economically disenfranchised Northerners

Today, representatives from BrightHR attended a local event where the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, addressed Manchester businesses on post-Brexit strategies for the North.

Jessica Hildyard: BrightHR

Speaking at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce today, Mr Osborne reiterated his disinterest in joining the current government leadership contest, focusing instead on his role to continue his efforts in the Northern Powerhouse strategy. Mr Osborne set about his vision of reassurance amidst realism for the Northern Powerhouse strategy.

Mr Osborne addressed the Brexit referendum outcome, recognising that the majority of the north had voted to leave the EU. He reflected that the Vote result demonstrated the true scale of the economic disenfranchisement of northern communities. He said that the Northern Powerhouse strategy could now, more than ever, not be compromised with the referendum only strengthening the need for ongoing support of the north.

He urged northern businesses and local government to continue collaborating on the Powerhouse strategy, citing success in local economic performance and governance made possible by the work since the global downturn in 2012. Mr Osborne applauded northern communities in Liverpool, Sheffield and Manchester for their advancements in business and industry and that it was clear to the rest of the country, the confidence of the North.

The larger focus for Britain now, he said, would be to support one another as the UK begin its national conversation about the future relationships of Britain and the world.

He stood by his original position that a remain vote would have been in the best interest for the country but that he respected the instruction of the Britain people, and that government needs to work as quickly as they can to forge new trade relationships. What those relationships looked like however, he was unsure and that these would need to be led by the people, urging business of all sizes to remain engaged in the national debate.

Citing China as a key market to start free trade talks, he said he had worked with the Bank of England before the vote to prepare contingencies in the outcome of ‘Leave’ and that they were well prepared to get on with the next steps.

As for Article 50, the parliamentary process that would trigger the official ‘leave’ proceedings, Mr Osborne urged a slow movement to ensure financial stability and economic strength before any final decisions can be implemented.

Paul Tooth, the CEO and co-founder, BrightHR responded to comments on the Northern Powerhouse by Mr Osborne, restating his view that “For me, the Northern Powerhouse means supporting northern businesses and regional development to the same extent as London is supported at the moment.”

“This Northern Powerhouse strategy is a crucial project that means local people and businesses can ensure extra funding is spent on the things that really matter.”

“We’ve already witnessed positive outcomes from the existing devolution plan and I hope that we can see the Powerhouse promise delivered on.”

“Across the North, we have seen thousands of new digital start-ups in particular and foundations such as Tech North are brilliant for championing digital talent. We would hate to lose this forward momentum for the north, stripping the north of its talent and enterprise.”