In February 2021, NSAR provided the Department for Transport with an economic analysis for the proposed reopening of the Northumberland Line.
The proposed reopening of the Northumberland Line to passenger trains had 3 key objectives:
Facilitate economic activity, employment growth and the delivery of housing sites within South-East Northumberland and the wider region.
Create mode shift from car to public transport to improve local air quality and reduce highway congestion at key bottlenecks on the highway network between South-East Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle.
Improve public transport accessibility for commuting, retail and leisure trips between South-East Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle.
Using the Skills Intelligence Model, NSAR generated a model for the workforce needed to undertake the work. We assumed a construction life cycle from 2021 to 2023 for the project and apportioned the finances accordingly, with the line being fully operational from 2024. A workforce would be required to maintain and operate the line post-implementation, and this was considered in the workforce demand output. From the development of the future workforce, we identified the additional gaps the project would generate.
Using the data, it was possible to produce further evidential support emphasising the benefits, both economically and socially this project would bring to the area. A workforce plan identified which roles would be required and when allowing specific recruitment of people with the right skills to deliver the project on time and within budget.
The analysis identified:
At peak demand, the Northumberland Line (NL) would generate an additional 630 jobs.
Once the construction phase was completed, modelling suggested an additional 138 jobs would be required to operate the line.
During the construction phase, the majority of roles generated by NL would be within Skill Levels 3 & 5 (83.3%).
When the line became operational, the requirement for the Jobs generated would be between Skill Levels 2 & 3 (86.5%).
Across the construction and operational phase, an average of 250 roles per year would be needed.
There were potentially high employment social value benefits for the region of the North East if the Northumberland Line were to be approved.
The unemployment rate in the NE (North East) had fallen in line with trends across the UK, however, the NE still had one the highest unemployment rates, on average being 1.5% to 2% higher than the national average.
Data suggested those youngest between the ages of 16 & 30 were those most disproportionately affected in comparison to other similar regions and the rest of the UK.
Modelling projected over the 10 years from 2020 – 2030, the Northumberland Line could generate in excess of £40m in additional economic value to the North- East region. (19/20 prices).
Each new role, in the construction phase, would deliver in the region of £32,000 in additional economic benefits and each new role in the operational phase would deliver £13,000 of additional economic benefits per year. (19/20 prices).
Each protected role, in the construction phase, would deliver in the region of £3,500 in additional economic benefits and the operational phase would deliver £1000 of additional economic benefits per year. (19/20 prices).