Councils plan largest-ever Northern Powerhouse conference

Northern Powerhouse
Jake Berry, left, and Roger Marsh.

Civic and business leaders from across the North will join forces at the largest-ever Northern Powerhouse conference on Friday 13th September.

They’ll use it to set out for the new Prime Minister and Government the transformational role the North will play in the future of the UK.

The summit is being spearheaded jointly by the NP11 group of northern local enterprise partnership Chairs and the cross-party Convention of the North, which brings together civic and business leaders with council leaders and elected mayors from all of the North’s towns, cities and city regions.

The central role of the Government-funded NP11, a year after it was launched by Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry at the first Northern Powerhouse Business Summit, shows the body’s important position working with the Government to tackle the North-South divide. The Convention of the North was established last year to bring together political representatives with business leaders and civic society to unite the North over the issues and opportunities ahead.

The nationally significant event will be a unique opportunity to set out a powerful, collective vision for the North and discuss how business, local government, the third sector and others can work together – and with the Government – to realise it.

Through an interactive programme of workshops, thought-provoking keynotes and panel discussions, the summit will bring together influential bodies such as the N8 research partnership, the People’s Powerhouse, Northern Power Women and leading think-tanks such as IPPR North and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership to debate the opportunities and challenges the North must address to play its full part in driving national prosperity after Brexit.

The event will build on a report produced following last year’s inaugural Convention which united the North in a call for further devolution, as well as policy work by the NP11 on increasing business growth, trade and investment and strengthening supply chains.

Delegates will discuss the North’s key asks of the Comprehensive Spending Review in areas including transport, business growth and innovation, skills and education, energy and climate change, and greater devolution for all parts of the North.

Nick Forbes, Chair of the Convention of the North and Leader of Newcastle City Council said: “The message from our first Convention of the North  last year was clear; give us the tools and we can grow the economy for all.

“This year we will see council and civic leaders, faith groups, businesses and youth movements come together to set out how we shape a plan for the North. From transport to climate change, we see a North united by its desire to take the lead.

“I look forward to working with others on a long term plan to prioritise investment in transport, education, skills and infrastructure across the North.”

Roger Marsh, Chair of the NP11 and of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said: “The Northern Powerhouse agenda has been significant in making northern prosperity a national priority.

“The North is home to nearly a quarter of the UK population and collectively we contribute over £300 billion annually to UK plc, so it’s only right that we should be front and centre of the future Government’s plans for national growth and competitiveness.

“The desire to see the full potential of the North unlocked to rebalance the UK economy is one that businesses, civic leaders, central government and the people of the North all share. Simply put, we aspire to be an overall contributor to national wealth, not dependent upon it. This summit is about harnessing our collective voices, uniting behind a common vision for northern success and, most importantly, shaping a clear plan to deliver it.”

Jake Berry said:“This unique summit will send a loud and clear message to the next Prime Minister that the Northern Powerhouse must be at the very top of the Government’s agenda. Now is the time for us to set political differences aside and speak with one authoritative voice for the North.

“With the combined strength of the NP11 and the Convention of the North, this year’s important summit is set to be the biggest of its kind ever to be held in the North of England.

“Let’s use this once-in-a-generation opportunity to forge a new consensus on the Northern Powerhouse and set ambitious targets in transport, education and devolution which will transform our economy and our society while changing people’s lives for the better.”