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Oglesby: Lack of skilled workers ‘biggest threat’ to northern prosperity

A lack of skilled workers is the “biggest threat” to businesses in the North according to Bruntwood chief executive Chris Oglesby.

Oglesby was speaking at pro-manchester’s Property and Regeneration Lunch in Salford yesterday (24 November), which reviewed the trends affecting development and investment in Greater Manchester this year.

The Bruntwood chief, who earlier this month took part in the first meeting of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP), stressed the importance of attracting the best talent to the North West to “meet the challenges of tomorrow”.

Oglesby called the availability of skilled workers “the biggest single thing that’s going to hold back the growth of our businesses and the growth of our economy”.

In reference to the Northern Powerhouse and developing improved transport links between the region’s key cites, Oglesby commented that “being able to draw upon a bigger labour pool would make [the North] so much more attractive”.

Speaking on a range of topics at the Lowry Hotel event, Oglesby also gave a positive of assessment of Liverpool’s fortunes over the past year, saying: “We are starting to see things really pick up now in Liverpool, it took them a little longer than London to come out of the economic downturn as it did Manchester, but Liverpool is now moving at a pace.”

The event also featured contributions from Jim Taylor, chief executive of Salford City Council; Philip Dyer, client director for the Northern Powerhouse at Atkins; Chris Baguley, commercial director at Together; Chris Reay, Spinningfields estate director at Allied London; Will Lewis, founding director of OBI Property and Steve Burne, managing director at AEW Architects.