It found that Northern Powerhouse private sector output growth hit a seven-month high in April and exceeded that recorded across the rest of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Job creation at Northern Powerhouse companies was only modest in April, and eased slightly since the previous month, but the region still outperformed the UK as a whole.
The headline NatWest Northern Powerhouse Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – posted 53.5 in April, to remain above the 50.0 no-change value and continue a run of growth that stretches back to August 2016. The latest index was up from 52.3 in March.
Richard Topliss, chairman, NatWest North board, said: “With our political processes in gridlock and our future relationship with key European trading partners shrouded in uncertainty, I had expected intuitively that the performance of the Northern Powerhouse economy would be showing negative trends with little to suggest improvement any time soon.
“For sure, automotive retail sales have slowed markedly, steel producers are facing a very tough market, some retailers are struggling as shoppers move online and tensions in global trade relations should not be overlooked, but the Northern Powerhouse economy has by many measures displayed a strong performance relative to other parts of the UK.”
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