Posted on July 20, 2016
Category: Blog

“The referendum result should lead to our political system and its politicians to review how they relate to the people they represent and why so many, particularly in the north of England, feel disenfranchised and left behind.

The Northern Powerhouse actually being the “Northern Poorhouse” that needs more than platitudinous initiatives and a couple of major cities getting some goodies, and the void in power and leadership that now exists is as a result of this not being addressed for many years.

The North-South divide I believe has come to bite those who have let it come about and I sincerely hope that they learn from it rather than seek any form of retribution.

Here in the Humber we have vainly been making the case in the devolution debate that, as the “Energy Estuary” and a “Northern Gateway” we are strategically important to UK plc and deserve respect and treating as such. Not to do so is not just lacking in fairness and “PC” – it is just short sighted and dumb!

I see a short term opportunity with the cutlery thrown in the air in Westminster and the table having to be re laid, for us to force our way into the void, shape some opinions and policies, and maybe get it re laid in a way that suits us better.

We need to keep the funding we get assuredly flowing for our identified projects and businesses, and replaced/enhanced as its source now necessarily changes.
Our business support effort needs to keep going and growing, and our aim to make every Humber business a digital business remains.

We must press on with a revolution in skills through such as University Technical Colleges (UTCs) to address the problem of an education system not giving business the raw people material it wants and needs.

We need to optimise being the “Energy Estuary” in a time of national energy insecurity and we need to press for better infrastructure and connectivity to aid social mobility to be able to properly join in with any Northern Powerhouse.

Above all I believe we need two types of people to come to the fore – leaders and entrepreneurs.

Leaders making the choice to influence beyond any given authority to get into the void and help relay the cutlery.
Entrepreneurs doing what only they can do in an uncertain and unconventional environment, but one where they see opportunities above barriers and restrictions. This being what these guys do!

These are the people who tend to remake a nation after such as a world war and we need them right now.
Know anybody who fits this bill? – If so beg and plead with them to step up at this critical time for our economy, community and country for this not the time for anybody who can make a difference to sit on their hands!”

Dr Paul Sewell OBE

Managing Director of Sewell Group Paul is Managing Director of Sewell Group. Established in 1876, Sewell Group recognised as a ‘Sunday Times 10 Best Company to Work For’ business. Having taken over Sewell Group more than 35 years ago, Paul has transformed a leading construction company to the business it is today, a holistic services provider for public services and local communities, which has successfully delivered schools, health centres and community facilities across the region. The Group has also developed a nationally acclaimed chain of fuel and convenience stores. Paul has been honoured by the IOD for his contribution to the Yorkshire economy and most recently in the Business Growth Awards for his outstanding leadership. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2011 for services to business and the community. Additional Humber LEP role: Chair of the Business Development Board

Dr Paul Sewell OBE