Press release

Budget 2015: what it means for the North West

Budget 2015 announces major new transport, science and technology investments in the North West.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The Chancellor today announced major new investments in transport and science in the North West, and provisional agreement to allow Greater Manchester and Cheshire East to keep 100% of additional growth in local business rates, as part of a Budget 2015 designed to ensure a truly national recovery.

Budget 2015 builds on previous steps to create a Northern Powerhouse by joining up the north so that it can pool its strengths, and helping areas attract new private sector investment by backing innovation, investing in the quality of life, and devolving power. Budget 2015 announces:

Further new transport investment

Transport for the North will shortly publish an interim report, committing to build on the concept of HS3 to develop a network of high quality rail connections across the north, bring the benefits of HS2 to the north sooner than planned, and work towards a single smart and integrated ticketing system across the north.

Further investments in science and innovation

  • investing £20m in Health North, with centres in the North West, to enable better care for patients and promote innovation through the analysis of data on the effectiveness of different drugs, treatments and health pathways

  • investing £11m to accelerate and support the development of high tech business in the north. Entrepreneurial hubs will create thriving local ecosystems by nurturing start-ups, fostering collaboration and providing mentorship, learning and business support. In Manchester, the Forward Plan will see £4m Government Investment towards an 8 floor hub in Federation House, located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter

  • extending the successful Enterprise Zones at Manchester and Mersey Waters and creating a new Enterprise Zone at Blackpool Airport which will redevelop 175,000 sqm of industrial floor-space and leverage £300m in private sector investment and potentially 2,000 jobs by 2020-21

  • after business case completion, the government will also create a new Enterprise Zone at Blackpool.

Investments in the quality of life

  • government has designated a new Housing Zone in Preston, and will continue to work to support develop zones in Wirral Waters and Lancashire. In total these have the potential to deliver over 5,500 homes by regenerating brownfield sites

  • the Muni theatre in Pendle will get a £56,000 refurbishment as part of the commitment to culture in the region

Further devolution of power

Devolving further power to the North West, by announcing a pilot scheme in Greater Manchester and Cheshire East, to enable those areas to retain 100% of any additional business rate growth above expected forecasts, beginning in April, subject to formal approval from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The new measures will help build on the Long Term Economic Plan for the North West announced by the Prime Minister and Chancellor in January. The plan sets a goal to increase the size of the North West economy by an extra £18 billion in real terms by 2030, equivalent to over £2,000 per person, and to raise the employment rate so that there are over 100,000 more people in employment in the region during the next Parliament.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:

The North West has the fastest employment growth in the country, and has created 117,000 jobs over the last year alone. This Budget builds on the long term economic plan for the North West that I set out in January, which aims to add an extra £18 billion to the local economy, create another 100,000 extra jobs and invest £4.5 billion in better transport.

This is a Budget for a truly national recovery. We are investing in better transport for the North West to join up the north, supporting the North West’s strengths in health science and tech, backing innovative businesses by extending enterprise zones at Manchester and Mersey Waters, and creating a new Enterprise Zone for Blackpool.

Following the ground-breaking devolution deal for Greater Manchester, we have reached provisional agreement to allow Greater Manchester and Cheshire East to keep 100% of the additional growth in local business rates as we build up the Northern Powerhouse. For where cities grow their economies through local initiatives – let me be clear – we will support and reward them.

This Budget marks another milestone in our plan to build a Northern Powerhouse, and our plan is working for people in the North West. We mustn’t turn back now.

Published 19 March 2015