Our Northern cities predictions for 2024

Despite the economic challenges the first six months of the year showcased, 2023 has been an exciting time for entrepreneurship, with a whopping 101 new businesses springing to life every hour across the UK. Up 9% compared to the same period in 2022.

Whilst the capital was predictably the leader in terms of business creation per capita (1,768 new businesses per 100,000) the Northwest followed closely behind, registering 612 new businesses per 100,000 residents, highlighting that 2023 has shown tremendous growth for those based in the North.

Although we haven’t quite ‘levelled up’ just yet, there’s still promise of further growth for the North in 2024 and beyond. We’ve taken a closer look at what we think will be the major trends across the UK’s Northern cities in 2024.

Northern prosperity

Whilst last year, we predicted that we expected to see more and more businesses move their central headquarters up north, we hope this will continue to be a trend heading into 2024, as firms look to tap into the immense talent pool that lies outside of the capital. Expect to see companies lay roots in the UK’s northern cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

Manchester has been projected to be the UK’s third fastest-growing economy between 2024 and 2026. At an annual average growth rate of 2.5%, outstripping the national growth rate of 2.1%.

Following exciting projects such as Eden Project North, a new AI campus in Blackpool and regeneration efforts in Gateshead, the construction markets in the North of England are poised to have a stellar 2024, with the possibility of outperforming London and the South across the next two years. There are still improvements to be made, but this has largely been facilitated by the Levelling Up Fund, which has allocated £2.3 billion to schemes like these. Is it enough to truly help the North ‘level up’? Only time will tell.

Finally, following Bradford’s City of Culture 2025 successful bid, the region will receive a £10m funding boost, as part of the government’s ambition to grow the local economy and create new jobs in the area.

Political power

The North of England has witnessed the rise of ‘metro mayors’. A metro mayor is a directly elected mayor of combined authority, who typically oversees metropolitan areas and play a strategic role in regional governance.

And given their agenda is solely focused on championing regional development and addressing key challenges, their influence goes from strength to strength. Currently across the North, the following city regionals have elected metro mayors, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, North of Tyne, Tees Valley, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

And with a general election looking likely in 2024, we’re predicting the North will hold greater political power in deciding the next government.

A celebration of culture

Unsurprisingly, we’re expecting the North to continue to do what it does best, showcase its vibrant culture, creativity and heritage!

From the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester to the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne, the north is home to some of the UK’s most exciting and ambitious art and cultural organisations and continue to play a significant role in the region’s cultural make-up offering diverse experiences for residents and visitors alike.

We’ve also started to see an increased investment into cultural spaces as Factory International in Manchester.

It’s been a year of progress and it’s great to see the North start to get some of the recognition it truly deserves. Although there’s still a long way to go in terms of investment and growth, it’s an exciting time to be a northerner and I look forward to seeing what the new year has in store.

If you’d like to discuss your communications plans for the new year, why not get in touch with our award-winning team today.

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