Finance is the most crucial driver needed to make the evolution of a true Northern Powerhouse a reality, according to Ezra Nahome, CEO of national commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH), who has confirmed he will chair the finance debate at the inaugural Northern Powerhouse International Conference & Exhibition this week.
The leading property figure will offer his views on the funding hurdles deterring business growth in the Northern Powerhouse when he chairs “Financing the Powerhouse”, one of the fundamental debates being held at the conference, which takes place at Manchester Central on 25 and 26 February 2016.
Mr Nahome will address the conference on the obstacles that businesses must overcome to commit to growth in the North given the often limited finance streams on offer to them.
He comments: “Since 2008, the approach to commercial lending has changed and, if we want the Northern Powerhouse to flourish, we must ensure that competitive funding products and innovative investment tools are developed to encourage business expansion and inspire start-ups.”
The Northern Powerhouse initiative has been a key focus for LSH in the past year, with the business having expanded its team across the region, moving to new offices in Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle. It is now the only property consultancy with a presence in every major city across the region.
The firm’s Northern Powerhouse Office Market Report, published for the first time in November 2015, provides a detailed overview of the core office markets in the North of England, and calls on the government to focus resource on key elements such as improved connectivity and infrastructure investment.
While the tangible benefits of infrastructure investment remain some way off, Mr Nahome argues that improved access to finance will have an immediate positive effect:
“We have long championed the UK regions and see considerable untapped potential across the North of England but access to finance remains a key issue that must be addressed,” adds Mr Nahome.
With more occupiers beginning to press ahead with long-planned relocations, investing in the future of their business through upgrading or expansion of their accommodation, business confidence in the North is growing rapidly. Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield all enjoyed exceptional occupier demand in 2015, both in the traditionally dominant sectors of Financial and Professional Services, alongside emerging sectors, such as TMT, and the trend is set to continue.
The two-day Northern Powerhouse International Conference & Exhibition will bring together leaders in industry from across the North with public sector decision makers and members of the international investment community.