The chairman of a new taskforce has highlighted the role the energy sector can play in creating jobs and wealth in the North of England.
Speaking at a summit hosted by the Yorkshire Building Society and the digital energy supply company, MNE, the chair of the IPPR North’s northern Energy taskforce, Sir John Harman said the North has “this deep tradition of being the energy hub of the UK”.
“The choice that the former Chancellor George Osborne made when he started talking about the Northern Powerhouse is actually an acknowledgement of that,” he claimed.
“It might have been subconscious but the Northern Powerhouse is what we have been.”
“Time and technologies might have changed and yet we still hold quite a strong hand, both in terms of where the energy in this country is created and also where it is used,” insisted Harman.
“We also have a very wide skills base for the developing of energy economy of the future. It should be an opportunity but opportunities have to be grasped.”
Also speaking at the event, the co-founder of MME, Annie Faulder, said the company will work with partner organisations to deliver cheaper energy bills, help reduce fuel poverty, generate new income streams and invest in local communities.
“We would like to be a supply company that helps drive the northern energy economy,” said Faulder.
Other speakers at the event included representatives from business, local government and the charity sector.
Emma Hoddinott, the local government officer at the Co-operative Party, said 10 per cent of households are fuel poor, many small businesses are struggling to grow as their energy bills soar and councils are “picking up the pieces”.