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Northern Powerhouse Conference 2016: Research Summary

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The inaugural UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference and Exhibition took place on 25 and 26 February. It was attended by around 2,500 delegates keen to debate how the Northern Powerhouse aims and ambitions could be achieved. At the heart of the debate is the principle of devolution – the decentralisation of power from central to regional and local government. Ipsos MORI was the research partner for the event - how do the delegates - and the wider public in the north of England - perceive the Northern Powerhouse project and devolution in general?

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Northern Powerhouse Conference 2016: Research Summary

  1. 1. Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Public 1 Northern Summary of research Ipsos MORI North 25-26 February 2016 Powerhouse Conference 2016.
  2. 2. 2Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only The Survey  The survey asked for responses to a cross section of key issues facing business. 245 Conference delegates participated in an online (tablet) survey over the course of the two day Northern Powerhouse Conference.  Economic outlook – both of the UK and northern economies.  Government economic policy – whether in the long term it would result in a stronger Northern economy and more attractive location for businesses looking to relocate/expand.  Levels of optimism in the Northern Powerhouse concept – whether there is belief in the ambitions to establish a Northern Powerhouse.  The EU referendum – to understand views on whether staying in or exiting the EU would be better for business.  Challenges facing business – to give delegates an opportunity to identify the biggest challenges currently facing Northern businesses Key question areas included:
  3. 3. 3Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Economic Outlook. Delegates were more optimistic than pessimistic about the future economic outlook of both the UK and the North economy. Significantly, there was greater confidence that the economic condition of the North would improve (56% said it would) compared to the UK economy more widely (only 47% said it would).
  4. 4. 4Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Positive Economic Outlook 47 38 12 2 56 36 7 1 Improve Stay the same Get worse Don't know Economic condition of the UK Economic condition of the North of England Q – Do you think the general economic condition of (a) the UK and (b) the North of England will improve, stay the same or get worse over the next 12 months? Source: Ipsos MORI Base: 245 delegates attending Northern Powerhouse Conference Greater confidence in future performance of North economy %
  5. 5. 5Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Government Economic policy. Two-thirds believed that the North economy will be strengthened in the long term. Three-quarters agreed that the North would become a more attractive destination for businesses looking to relocate or expand in the future.
  6. 6. 6Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Support For Government Economic Policy 9 15 57 58 16 16 14 10 4 1 In the long term this Government's policies will strengthen the North economy In the long term this Government's policies will result in the North becoming a more attractice location for business Strongly agree Tend to agree Neither agree nor disagree Tend to disagree Strongly disagree Source: Ipsos MORI Base: 245 delegates attending Northern Powerhouse Conference Majority agree that it will deliver long term benefits for the North %
  7. 7. 7Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Cautious That the Northern ambition will be realised. PowerhouseOptimism …
  8. 8. 8Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Three-Quarters Believe In The Concept 14 62 11 11 2 1 Very optimistic Fairly optimistic Neither optimistic nor pessimistic Fairly pessimistic Very pessimistic Don't know Source: Ipsos MORI Base: 245 delegates attending Northern Powerhouse Conference However, the majority of these are only ‘fairly’ optimistic Q – To what extent (if at all) are you optimistic or pessimistic that the ambitions of the Northern Powerhouse can be realised? %
  9. 9. 99Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only As for priorities There are priorities  There is a long list of priorities for the Northern Powerhouse to deliver.  There is almost unanimous agreement (99%) for investment in transport across the north (ahead of north-south connectivity) – 88% of these think it is ‘very important’  But it’s not just about infrastructure investment – 95% think training and skills development are important, with four in five thinking it is ‘very important’ within priorities.
  10. 10. 10Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only 88 80 62 59 57 43 11 15 31 29 38 42 Transport infrastructure investment within the North Investing in training to develop skills of the local workforce Attracting foreign investment, which will bring new money to the North Transport infrastructure investment between the North and London/South East Local autonomy over planning policy/decisions, which could give local areas more control over undeveloped land Local control over setting business rates, which could make a local area more competitive as a business location Very important Fairly important Source: Ipsos MORI Base: 245 delegates attending Northern Powerhouse Conference Transport And Training/Skills Are Important Priority should be given to intra-northern transport infrastructure investment % Q – The following are examples of what could happen to help achieve the Northern Powerhouse. Thinking about your own company or organisation, how important is each of these?
  11. 11. © 2016 Ipsos. All rights reserved. Contains Ipsos' Confidential and Proprietary information and may not be disclosed or reproduced without the prior written consent of Ipsos. 11Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Northern Powerhouse Conference delegates support remaining in EU.
  12. 12. 12Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Two-Thirds Support Staying Within The EU 68 15 15 2 UK staying in the EU UK leaving the EU Don't know Refused % Source: Ipsos MORI Base: 245 delegates attending Northern Powerhouse Conference Although sizeable minority are still yet to make up their minds Q – Which outcome of the referendum do you think would be best for your business?
  13. 13. 13Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only The Impact Of Brexit. Negative impact of ‘Brexit’  In the event of Britain’s exit from the EU, it is European trade which would suffer the most according to delegates – two- thirds (64%) felt it would be negatively affected.  57% believed that it would be a threat to foreign investment in the UK, whilst a similar proportion thought it would be bad for the British economy overall. Moreover, the North economy would not be insulated from this as over half (54%) also felt that it would be negatively impacted. Positive impact of ‘Brexit’  There was a sizeable minority which felt that exiting the EU could have a positive impact for Britain – for example, around one in five (22%) felt it would have a positive impact on the British economy, whilst a similar proportion (22%) thought it would strengthen Britain’s standing in the world.  However, not unsurprisingly Brexit was seen as positive when it comes to improving Britain’s trade with the rest of the world – over a quarter (28%) felt it would be a positive move.  Whilst delegates felt Brexit would be on balance negative for Brand Britain, when it came to assessing the impact on their own company opinion was more ambivalent – 41% felt it would make no difference to their prospects whilst over half (53%) did not think it would impact on their ability to attract and retain talent. Impact of ‘Brexit’ on realising the Northern Powerhouse  Opinion was split as to whether Brexit would have a positive or negative impact on the Northern Powerhouse. Just under half (48%) felt that it would either have a positive effect (21%) or would make no difference (27%) to the project, whilst 44% disagreed and felt it would be negatively impacted.
  14. 14. 14Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Negative Impact Of Brexit 15 19 22 17 22 21 28 16 17 16 16 14 19 21 27 22 41 53 64 57 57 54 52 44 42 34 24 5 7 8 9 5 8 8 9 7 Britain's trade with Europe Foreign investment in the UK The British economy overall The North of England economy specifically Britain's standing in the world Realising the ambitions of the Northern Powerhouse Britain's trade with the rest of the world Your company's prospects Your company's ability to attract and retain talent Overall positive Would make no difference Overall negative Don't know Source: Ipsos MORI Base: 245 delegates attending Northern Powerhouse Conference Trade, investment and the economy overall would be affected %
  15. 15. 15Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Challenges Facing Northern Businesses
  16. 16. 16Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Challenges Facing Northern Businesses  Businesses were asked to identify the single greatest challenge for them at the moment.  Responses chimed with the quantitative results with issues concerning infrastructure and skills and talent being the most commonly mentioned.  Linked to this, just under one in five further articulated specific areas for greater investment, including infrastructure and upskilling local workforces. “All the best talent migrates to London. it is hard to recruit good grads in Manchester” “Skills. especially in STEM areas” “Transport infrastructure and travel times between cities in the Northern Powerhouse” “The woeful condition of east-west rail links is a national embarrassment. International investors wont take the north seriously until we have large scale nationally driven east-west rail investment on the scale of Crossrail”
  17. 17. 17Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Also About Winning ‘Hearts And Minds’. Getting recognition and acceptance across the rest of the UK and the world” Insufficient political solidarity, collaboration and joint working. That weakens influence over Government and our internal and external attractiveness for investment” The generic perception that “It’s grim up North" both within and outside the region…needs to be countered. On a wider basis the perception that all good things - people, ideas, business, housing, culture - is restricted to the South needs to be countered” Whilst the discussion about the Northern Powerhouse is good, the lack of clear action points, and of an ability to take action for and on behalf of the North is a problem. I have no confidence in the ability to progress beyond the discussion. My concern is that we will still be discussing how to start in 5 years”
  18. 18. 18Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only What About Prior to the Conference, Ipsos MORI conducted a representative survey of public opinion in the North of England. Public Opinion?
  19. 19. 19Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Half Of Northerners Are Aware Of The 51 49 Yes No  Men are significantly more likely to have heard of it (62%) compared to women (40%).  Older people (45-75) are significantly more likely to have heard of it than young people.  No significant variance in awareness across the northern regions.  Awareness of the N Powerhouse drops to a third (33%) in the Midlands, which is a similar level of awareness to London (also 33%). Source: Ipsos MORI Northern Powerhouse Concept. % Q - Have you heard of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’? Base: Adults (16-75) living in the North of England (530) Fieldwork dates: 8th to 12 January 2016
  20. 20. 20Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Transport And Training/Skills Are Priorities 36 37 40 43 54 58 35 39 35 31 27 23 Transport infrastructure investment between the North and London/South East Local autonomy over planning policy/decisions, which could give local areas more control over undeveloped land Local control over setting business rates, which could make a local area more competitive as a business location Attracting foreign investment, which will bring new money to the North Investing in training to develop skills of the local workforce Transport infrastructure investment within the North Very important Fairly important Source: Ipsos MORI Public opinion supports Conference delegates’ opinions about priorities Base: Adults (16-75) living in the North of England (530) Fieldwork dates: 8th to 12 January 2016 % Q - The following are examples of what could happen to help achieve the Northern Powerhouse. Thinking about where you live, how important is each of these?
  21. 21. 21Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Public Are Sceptical Towards Concept 2 2 3 5 6 9 16 20 21 29 26 24 17 17 10 9 6 6 22 23 27 The Northern Powerhouse will happen soon enough to have an impact on my life The ambitions of the Northern Powerhouse will be realised in my lifetime In the future those in the North will look back at the Northern Powerhouse and think it was worth it Certain to happen Very likely to happen Fairly likely to happen Fairly unlikely to happen Very unlikely to happen Certain not to happen Don't know Source: Ipsos MORI Only around a quarter think it will happen soon enough to impact on their lives % Q. How likely or unlikely do you think it is that the following will happen….? Base: Adults (16-75) living in the North of England (530) Fieldwork dates: 8th to 12 January 2016
  22. 22. 22Northern Powerhouse Conference Survey of Delegates | February 2016 | Version FINAL | Internal Use Only Matthew Bristow, Associate Director, Ipsos MORI North Tel: 0161 826 9421 E-mail: matthew.bristow@ipsos.com For more information

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