Henri Murison, Chief Executive at The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, writes exclusively for BUSINESSiQ.


A few weeks ago, I was up in North Skelton to visit Tees Components, a family-run machining company which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year

It’s a fascinating business, with a rapidly growing order book to make parts for critical British infrastructure projects and climate research vessels across the world.

Business is booming. The team has already taken on more apprentices, and the factory is expanding with better facilities.

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Tees Components, alongside Wilton Engineering under the Transporter Bridge at Port Clarence, is part of the Royal Navy’s extensive supply chain here in the North of England and I was there with Commodore Phil Waterhouse to discuss the importance of what is being delivered here for Teesside and for the nation.

Here at the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, we’re supporters of making sure that the UK has a manufacturing and innovation base that can stand on its own two feet.

Ensuring we have the technology and the know-how to make the things we need to protect our country is absolutely vital to our national security.

Last month, the US, UK and Australia announced a partnership to build a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, using a British design and supported by technology from all three countries.

The Northern Echo: Tees Components boss Sharon LaneTees Components boss Sharon Lane (Image: Press release)

Our government is replacing the existing Barrow-built Vanguard fleet of submarines with the biggest, most powerful and technically advanced submarines in the world, the Dreadnought Class, due to enter service in the early 2030s.

It’s a huge undertaking and, at its peak, the project will support almost 30,000 UK jobs - around half of which at least will be here in the North, in a major boost for our economy.

Already, businesses across the region are stepping up to make sure that workers have the right training and expertise to get on with the job.

This year the Royal Navy joined the Northern Powerhouse Partnership to support our work in this space including by leveraging where the naval pound is spent here on Teesside, as well as identifying the jobs and local firms it supports.

It is vital for the Northern economy that businesses invest more in their own workers.

Without access to the right talent, these organisations will be unable to meet the orders they can secure, limiting levels of local economic growth as a result.

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However, by keeping manufacturing jobs in the North of England - whether it’s for steel, naval vessels or green energy infrastructure such as small modular reactors – we can protect our expertise, retain more of the economic benefits here and build our global reputation in this sector.

Advanced manufacturing is one of the North’s ‘prime capabilities’ in which we have a comparative global advantage, as identified by the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review (the route-map to creating a million additional skilled jobs by 2050).

We can’t afford to let this potential go to waste – nor can we risk offshoring the delivery of critical defence infrastructure.

The North is ready to play its part.