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The Northern Economic Summit

  • Thursday, 15 November 2018
  • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • 09:25 - 17:00
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Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address

  • Bev Hurley CBE, Chair, Institute for Economic Development (confirmed)

Keynote Address

Manchester's first Metro Mayor is committed to enacting transport, infrastructure and social inclusivity initiatives that will assist Manchester's development as an independent economic power capable of supporting its people and reducing the region's reliance on central government. 

  • Minister MA Hui, Minister, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the UK (confirmed)
"Parallels Between the Northern Powerhouse and the Belt and Road Initiative"

China and northern England are developing a sophisticated economic partnership built on shared aspirations between the regions for improved international connectivity, collaboration in the development of emerging technologies, environmental sustainability and transformative economies. 


Minister MA Hui will address how parallels between the Northern Powerhouse and China's Belt and Road initiative have facilitated:

  • Unprecedented inward investment from China into Northern England.
  • Rapid growth of collaboration between Chinese/northern academic researchers and industry in the development of artificial intelligence and graphene.
  • Improved economic ties between Chinese and northern commerce.        
"Northern Economic Outlook"

Through original research and advocating innovative approaches to policy that improves quality of life and drives economic prosperity for the North, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership builds apolitical consensus between business, civic and cultural leaders about how the region can develop an economy that competes on a global scale.


In his address to delegates, the NPP's chief economist will discuss:

  • Taking advantage of priority economic assets that have been identified as enablers of transformational reform throughout the Northern economy; advanced manufacturing, energy, digital and health innovation.
  • Assessing the delivery of Northern Powerhouse commitments made to date; devolving powers, connectivity, cultural investment and scientific innovation.
"The Generational Shift"

Northern Power Women is a collaborative campaign to transform workplace culture within organisations that lead economic growth in the North. NPW is committed to increasing opportunities in employment for women and addressing gender equality; as well as recognising, showcasing and celebrating inspiring women from across the region who have contributed to furthering the NPW agenda. Simone Roche will address the progressive generational shift in attitudes towards equality in the workplace and its economic impact.

  • Rowena Burns, Chair, Health Innovation Manchester (confirmed)
"Health Innovation Manchester"

The life sciences sector makes a vital contribution to the UK economy.  Advances in genomic research combined with the transformational power of digital technologies are leading to novel approaches in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Greater Manchester’s exceptional clinical, academic, and public assets coupled with its health and social care devolution ensures that the city-region is uniquely placed to become the destination of choice for life sciences. 

Rowena Burns will discuss how Health Innovation Manchester is leveraging these assets to establish Greater Manchester as an international leader in accelerating innovation that transforms citizens’ health and wellbeing, bringing with significant inward investment and economic growth.


Question & Answer Session

  • Andrew McPhillips, Chief Economist, Northern Powerhouse Partnership (confirmed)
  • Simone Roche MBE, CEO & Founder, Northern Power Women (confirmed)
  • Rowena Burns, Chair, Health Innovation Manchester (confirmed)
  • Minister MA Hui, Minister, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the UK (confirmed)

Coffee in the Networking Area

"Diversifying De-Industrialised Economies "

Once the industrial capital of the world, Oldham's economy was dependant on cotton and textile manufacturing. Post-industrial revolution, the town's economy fell into depression; subsequently entering a process of economic re-structuring, diversifying its base in order to avoid over-reliance on any particular sector. Debbie Abrahams will address delegates on the steps Oldham has taken in supporting SMEs and start-ups from across multiple sectors, developing its own independent business quarter of the town centre and campaigning for a responsible payment culture between large and small businesses.   

  • Jon Dutton, Chief Executive, Rugby League World Cup 2021 (confirmed)
"Rugby League World Cup 2021"

The government is committing up to £25 million to support the staging of Rugby League World Cup matches and develop the national infrastructure of rugby league as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda. The RFL has stated its ambition to attract upwards of 1,000,000 people to attend the 31 tournament matches - 80% of which will be taking place in the North.


Jon Dutton will discuss the fiscal and social benefits for northern towns and cities that will host matches - including:

  • Elevated town profiles that assure persistent increases in recognition and tourism.
  • Long-term investment in sporting facilities, infrastructure and transport connectivity.
  • Job creation and an influx of visitors, athletes and media outlets. 
"The Preston Model"

Preston City Council have adopted an economic model contingent on the redirection of procurement from exterior suppliers to local producers. Seeking alternative economic models as a means of counteracting the impact of central government austerity, Preston commissioned the thinktank Centre for Local Economic Strategies to identify 12 large institutions that are 'anchored' to the region; subsequently beginning to redirect the annual spending power of these institutions (£1.2bn) towards local businesses. Since taking the bold move to redirect procurement locally, the city has been recognised in the Good Growth for Cities Index as the best city in north-west England in which to live and work; in addition to achieving one of the biggest upwards shifts in the multiple deprivation index rankings between 2010 - 2015.


Northern Infrastructure and Transport Strategy: Panel Discussion

  • Darren Caplan, Chief Executive, Railway Industry Association (confirmed)
  • Professor Amar Ramudhin, Director, Logistics and Humber Development Institute, University of Hull (confirmed)
  • Jon Sandford, National Infrastructure Planning Lead, Homes England (confirmed)

Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair's Afternoon Address


Case Study

  • Ritchie Fiddes, Global Sales and Marketing Director, Techbuyer (confirmed)

Techbuyer is a global leader in the buying, refurbishing and selling of data centre equipment. The company sells brand new IT parts, and also buys used parts such as servers, memory and storage and turn them into low-cost, quality refurbished IT equipment. Founded in Harrogate in 2005, Techbuyer has grown from a company run by just two people, to six offices in three continents. It now stocks huge global inventory of over 225,000 IT parts including big brands such as HP, Dell, Intel, IBM and Cisco and delivers to over 100 countries worldwide.


Building Resilient Local Economies: Panel Discussion

Richard Heys, Deputy Chief Economist, Office for National Statistics

Christian Spence, Head of Future Economies Analytics, Future Economies University Research Centre (confirmed)

Councillor Michael Morday, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Brexit, Sunderland City Council

Professor Amar Ramudhin, Director, Logistics and Humber Development Institution 

  • Jonathan Spruce, Interim Strategy Director, Transport for the North (confirmed)
"Northern Powerhouse Rail"

Transport for the North is the first sub-national transport body; a partnership comprised of the North's 19 local transport authorities, leaders from regional industry and representatives from Network Rail, Highways England and HS2 ltd - established to transform connectivity across the region and provide the necessary infrastructure to drive economic growth and re-balance the UK economy.


Transport for the North has outlined a 30-year strategic initiative that details how transformational improvements to connectivity in the North must be delivered to support a globally competitive environment that can sustain economic growth. The Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review forecasts that, by 2050, a radically transformed Northern transport infrastructure could facilitate a 4% increase in productivity, 850,000 new jobs and an additional £100 billion in GVA (gross value added). 

"N8 Research Partnership"

The N8 Research Partnership (N8) is the collaborative body for the universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York. The N8 universities deliver more than £12 billion of revenue for the North, provides assistance to more than 31,000 businesses and generates in excess of £6.6 billion GVA as well as being responsible for 119,000 jobs in the region - a larger contribution to Northern Powerhouse GVA than the entire Northern media industry, agriculture or motor vehicle manufacturing sectors.


Dr Annette Bramley will detail exciting new leading-edge N8 research programmes that will continue to drive growth of the knowledge-based economy through the development of world-class interdisciplinary, translational research that deliver real world impact. 

  • Paul Boyfield, Group Property Director, Lexington North (confirmed)
"Lexington North"

In his address to delegates, Lexington North’s founder Paul Boyfield will discuss:

The Northern Powerhouse is cities and towns. When our northern cities do well so do our towns, and when the north does well so does the whole of the UK. If UK cities and city regions all performed at the average of similar cities internationally, it would put £100billion a year into the UK economy - that’s roughly the size of the UK motor vehicle industry. To close this productivity gap is the answer greater devolution freedoms? If it is, what are the potential barriers.


Chair's Closing Remarks


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The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Construction of The Bridgewater Hall commenced on 22 March 1993, but the idea of a new concert hall for Manchester dates back to the reconstruction of the Free Trade Hall in the 1950s after wartime bomb damage. The Free Trade Hall was home to the city’s famous Hallé orchestra and also hosted rock and pop concerts. However, despite holding great public affection, the 1850s Free Trade Hall was ill-equipped to respond to the rising standards of service and acoustic excellence demanded by performers and audiences.

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who will attend

  • Central Government
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  • Councillors
  • Development Managers
  • Directors/Heads of Enterprise and Innovation
  • Directors/Heads of Technology
  • Digital/Emerging Technologies Companies
  • Heads of Economic Development
  • Heads of Growth and Regeneration
  • Heads of Innovation
  • Heads of Inward Investment
  • Heads of Planning
  • Heads of Policy
  • Heads of Research and Innovation
  • Heads of Transport
  • Investors
  • LEPs
  • Local Authority Officials
  • Local Businesses
  • Local Enterprise Partnerships
  • Managing Directors
  • Project and Programme Managers
  • SMEs