The Northern Economic Summit is a one-day forum showcasing ambitious domestic economic models, regional growth initiatives and global investment partnerships.
Industry leaders, local and national policy makers, economists, foreign dignitaries and business chiefs will converge on Manchester's Bridgewater Hall, home of world-famous symphonic orchestra The Hallé, to construct a collective vision of how the North can proactively re-balance the UK's economy through:
Open Forum Events invites you to join us at the Bridgewater Hall on Thursday, November 15th to hear from Parliamentarians, principal economists, foreign Ministers, local government leaders, industry and academic researchers as to how the North can rise to the challenge of reinventing itself as a self-sustaining economic power prepared to embrace the changes brought about by the fourth industrial revolution, Britain on the brink of Brexit and a growing appetite for pursuing alternative economic models.
In addition to reviewing opportunities for growth and developing the North’s international reputation, the Northern Economic Summit will scrutinise obstructing factors - primarily the discrepancy in central government spending between the North and South; giving way to a striking contrast in infrastructure that has maligned northern transport and economic development for decades. The Summit will address uncertainty created by Brexit - it’s impact on foreign inward investment, trade, the labour market and deficits created by the absence of fiscal support from frameworks such as the EU Structural and Investment Fund; compounded by government impact assessments that conclude the North East will suffer an 11-16% shrink in GDP after Brexit.
In the pre-Brexit world, the government's Northern Powerhouse initiative was an integral component of the domestic policy agenda; playing a pivotal role in building international diplomatic relations through industrial, commercial and research partnerships. Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, is reform and development of the Northern economy still at the core of the government’s plan to build a Britain 'fit for the future'? Or has it taken a back seat to the Brexit mitigation that continues to dominate the national economic narrative?
In July, Theresa May revisited pledges previously made to the North that have yet to materialise - committing up to £780 million to upgrading the east coast mainline; delivering much needed improvements to platforms, tracks, signals and junctions - in addition to faster, more frequent services between Doncaster, Leeds and Newcastle. The Prime Minister also confirmed that the North of Tyne devolution deal is set to go ahead, handing down devolutionary powers from parliament to a new Metro Mayor in order to develop land for economic growth and regeneration, funding projects to improve education, skills and the productivity of rural communities; in addition to £600 million of extra capital to invest in the North of Tyne region. Such commitments will provide a welcome boost to the northern economy - however they don't go far enough in redressing the disparity in central government investment between the North and South.
Recent data collated by IPPR suggests that the disparity in central government funding and legislative agenda is obstructing the North from realising its economic potential. One of the key areas where under-investment is particularly evident is transport and connectivity.
“We cannot increase productivity and close the gap between our regions unless we dramatically upgrade our transport infrastructure and make up for decades of under investment. The ambition for a Northern Powerhouse will remain unmet for as long as funding disparities in transport remain in place.”
Judith Cummins, MP for Bradford South.
Research commissioned by IPPR North found that spending per capita on transport projects in the North equated to:
The figures amount to an average of £427 per head for the North as a whole - a stark contrast to the £1,943 per capita spent on transport in London. These statistics are reflected in that more than half (54.2%) of the national transport spending from 2016/17 was spent on London-centric initiatives; as opposed to 15.1%, 3.2% and 1.8% spent on the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East respectively.
The investment disparity between the North/South divide is exemplified by the transport figures, the problem is replicated in national spending on other infrastructural projects. Despite inadequacies in domestic investment, foreign investment in the region has surged since 2015.
In 2015 Hainan Airlines announced that the first direct flights from the UK to China outside of London would be taking off from Manchester Airport; estimated to generate £50 million for the Manchester economy and strengthen ties between the North and China. An agreement between UK real estate company Scarborough Group International and Chinese investors the Hualing Group was penned, with Hualing committing to invest in three northern regeneration projects; Thorpe Park in Leeds, the Sheffield Digital Campus and Middlewood Locks in Manchester.
In addition to commercial partnerships struck between northern England and East Asia, several research and development alliances have developed between the two. The University of Central Lancashire has established the UCLAN Biomedical Technology (Shenzhen) Ltd in association with the Shenzhen government, with the purpose of promoting world-leading nanotechnology research activities and partnerships within China. As part of the Northern Economic Summit morning plenary session, Minister Zhu Qin, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the United Kingdom will update delegates on China’s continued investment in the North and how parallels have emerged between the Northern Powerhouse and China's Belt and Road initiative.
Investment is undoubtedly a necessary component of any ambitious regeneration scheme, as is having the appropriate governing powers and budget to enact policy that will facilitate reform and growth; is further policy-making devolution the route to achieving this goal? With the elections of six new Metro Mayors, three of which represent northern areas (Liverpool City Region, the Tees Valley and Greater Manchester) could a redistribution of power over the northern economy be on the horizon?
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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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.