By Barry Collins, Director of Collins McHugh
I had great pleasure recently to be invited to the ground breaking event for Liverpool2, the new deep water container terminal at Port of Liverpool. The potential for Liverpool2 is of such scale that is can really be referred to as ‘transformational’ for the Merseyside and wider regional economies. When linked to other projects planned, many already underway, for the length of the Manchester Ship Canal under the Atlantic Gateway banner talk of re-balancing the UK economy begins to have real traction, offering far more than economic benefits.
At a similar time I was reading the recent report on mortality rates for local councils reflected a significant divide between the North and South with Manchester topping the first ever league table for premature deaths and Wokingham in Berkshire holding the much more attractive position at the bottom of the list.
The role of business in delivering a responsible sustainable economy can only really be truly effective if the Government sets the context for maximizing the benefits across the UK, supports a realignment of the UK economy, sets precedents, as it has done with moving a significant part of the BBC to the North and continues to address the economic imbalance in the UK. For example, it would be great to see the High Speed rail link (HS2) start its construction process in the North.
Jobs, health and wellbeing, crime, training and development are all inextricably linked to wealth creation, prosperity, inclusion and aspiration. It is wonderful to see this process continue from Manchester’s Commonwealth Games to Salford’s MediaCityUK and Merseyside’s Liverpool 2, all changing the way the North is perceived, but those health statistics clearly show it may be a generation before we see the potential fully realized of a re-balancing of the UK economy.