IMPROVING infrastructure could boost productivity in Yorkshire and the Humber by £13.5 billion and by £5.5 billion in the North-East.
The figures are in a report – Shaping Regional Infrastructure – by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Better links between regions would provide a wider labour pool and better connections to supply chains.
But, the report says, better links to regional airports are vital to connect firms to international markets – particularly important post-Brexit.
The CBI analysis says that if the Yorkshire and Humber and the North-East’s productivity grew at the same pace as the region’s best performing area between 2004 and 2014, the gain to their economy could be £13.5bn and £5.5 billion, respectively, by 2024.
In Yorkshire and Humber, 55 per cent of firms are unhappy with the infrastructure and 73 per cent believe further devolution would improve it. In the North-East, 60 per cent of firms are dissatisfied with the infrastructure, with 63 per cent believing further devolution would enhance it.
In both regions, 94 per cent of firms see technology as a crucial driver of increased productivity.
Key priorities for the North-East include:
1 improving access to international markets – including better links between firms and Newcastle and Durham-Tees Valley Airports, Teesport and the Port of Tyne;
2 inter-regional transport plans and links across the Northern Powerhouse – including Northern Powerhouse Rail – and upgrades to the A66 and A69;
n wider roll out of, and better quality, public transport networks.
In Yorkshire and Humber the key priorities include:
3 boosting the potential of airports – including improvements in access to Leeds-Bradford airport;
n maximising the impact of major projects such as HS2;
4 better digital connectivity across the region and on trains.
Sarah Glendinning, CBI North-East director, said: "With 60 per cent of North-East firms dissatisfied with the state of our region’s roads, rails and ports, it’s vital the pace of taking action and delivering improvements is stepped up.
"Infrastructure is a key driver of productivity. By making it easier for staff to get to work and by better connecting companies to their customers, markets overseas and supply chains, we could do a great deal to lift England’s productivity."
Beckie Hart, CBI Yorkshire and the Humber director, agreed and said: "A strategic plan for delivery, tailored for each region, will be needed for firms to feel devolution will truly make a difference when it comes to infrastructure."