• Planning & Development

The Northern Economic Summit

  • Thursday, 15 November 2018
  • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • 09:25 - 16:15
  • Overview

The Northern Economic Summit is a one-day forum featuring a roster of distinguished keynote speakers, showcasing ambitious domestic economic models and global partnerships; in addition to regional initiatives developed in pursuit of delivering improved health and social care services, education and infrastructure projects.

Global industry leaders, local and national policy makers, innovative local authorities, economists and northern-based businesses will converge on the Bridgewater Hall, home of world-famous symphonic orchestra The Hallé, to build a collective vision of the North's economic future and explore opportunities for regional regeneration.    

As well as reviewing opportunities for economic growth and developing the North’s international reputation, the Northern Economic Summit will scrutinise obstructing factors in regional economic progress - the discrepancy in government spending per capita between the North and South; giving way to a striking contrast in infrastructure that has maligned northern transport for decades. The uncertainty created by Brexit - it’s impact on foreign investment, trade, the labour market and deficits created by the absence of fiscal support from frameworks such as the EU Structural and Investment Funds.

In the pre-Brexit world, the government's Northern Powerhouse initiative was an integral component of the domestic policy agenda; as well as 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? 

Open Forum invites you to join us at the Bridgewater Hall on Thursday, November 15th to hear from Members of Parliament, principal economists, Ministers, foreign dignitaries, local councillors and industry chiefs as to how the North has risen to the challenge of reinventing itself as an economy prepared to embrace the changes brought about by a fourth industrial revolution and a Britain on the brink of Brexit.       

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:

  • £190 for residents of Yorkshire and the Humber
  • £220 for the North East
  • £680 in the North West

Equating to an average of £427 per head for the North as a whole. This, in stark contrast to the £1,943 per capita spent on transport in London. These figures reflect 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 and south is exemplified by the transport figures, but 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 contribution and support of the North.

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 parliamentary 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?  

Leaders in industry, representatives from local, regional and national governance, economists and investors will converge on the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester to engage with a collective vision of the North’s economic future.

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  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Benefits of attending

  • Contribute to the collective vision of northern England’s economic future and hear informed perspectives of national, regional and local government representatives, international and domestic industry leaders, economists, international dignitaries and investors.
  • Learn about initiatives in the public and private sector being developed to expand the northern economy exponentially and position the region at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution; harnessing breakthroughs in emerging technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, energy storage and materials science.
  • Learn from those spearheading the region’s ambitious infrastructural plans for transport, healthcare, investment and education.
  • Understand the importance of reforming the economies of northern towns in accord with the development of the region’s great cities.
  • Network and knowledge share with leading figures in policy making, infrastructure, governance, emerging industries, investment and economic development.
  • De-construct and debate issues pertinent to the North such as devolution, central government spending disparity, the impact of Brexit and what it means for beneficiaries of frameworks such as the European structural and investment funds.
  • Assess the diversity of investment opportunities across the North in manufacturing, property, emerging technology, data and transport initiatives.
  • Gain the maximum number of 6 CPD points.         .   

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  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address

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

Keynote Address

In May 2017, Andy Burnham was elected as Greater Manchester's first Metro Mayor; commanding an impressive 63.4% of the vote and punctuating his election by pledging to change the London-centric nature of British politics to empower devolved policy making.


Andy leads the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), comprised of the 10 borough councils that make-up the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester. The Metro Mayor has influence over policy direction, infrastructure and economic growth in the region; Andy has committed to using devolutionary powers to enact bold, radical and ambitious plans to support Manchester's development as an economic power capable of supporting its people and reducing the region's reliance on central government funding.


From the Bridgewater Hall's Barbirolli Room overlooking the city centre, Mayor Andy Burnham will welcome delegates to Manchester and the Northern Economic Summit - by setting out his vision for the Northern economy and detailing Greater Manchester's integral role in delivering it. 

  • Minister Zhu Qin, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United Kingdom (confirmed)
"China and the Northern Economy"

As China celebrates unprecedented economic growth, Minister Zhu Qin will address how China's geopolitical influence, burgeoning economy and investors - undettered by Brexit, will continue to support the northern economy through inward investment, commercial partnerships and prospective trade deals.

  • Jon Dutton, Chief Executive, Rugby League World Cup 2021 (confirmed)
"The Role Sport Plays in Local Economies "

In 2021, England will play host to the world's premier men's, women's and wheelchair international rugby league teams as they compete in the sixteenth staging of the Rugby League World Cup.


The Rugby Football League - governing body for professional rugby league in England, beat out the United States and Canada to win the bid securing hosting rights to the tournament. The UK government has committed up to £25 million to support the staging of events and develop the national infrastructure of the sport 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, chief executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 will use his presentation to detail the fiscal and social benefits of hosting the tournament for northern towns and cities like Hull, Warrington, Doncaster, Huddersfield and Wigan - elevated town profiles that assure persistent increases in recognition and tourism, long-term investment in sporting facilities, transport and infrastructure; as well as jobs creation and an influx of visitors, athletes and media outlets.

"Accelerating Gender Equality in the North "

Northern Power Women is a collaborative campaign to transform the workplace culture within organisations that lead economic growth in the region - increasing opportunities for women, narrowing gender pay disparity and recognising, showcasing and celebrating inspiring women from across the North.


Gender equality has emerged as a defining Western societal issue of the early 21st century; reflected by the media and parliamentary scrutiny imposed on the gender diversity in boardrooms, the gender pay discrepancy, attitudes towards women in the workplace and the disproportionate amount of women working in sectors such as finance, tech and infrastructure.


Simone's address to delegates will detail how, and why Northern Power Women have established a network of gender equality advocates across the North that promote the progressive work of the organisation by; hosting and speaking at events, producing interactive podcasts, conducting original research and using all the resources at their disposal to pro-actively combat gender inequality in the North - setting the stage for other regions to follow suit and collectively eliminate gender inequality in the UK.           


Main Sponsor


Question & Answer Session

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

Minister Zhu Qin, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the People's Republic of China to the United Kingdom

Jon Dutton, Chief Executive, Rugby League World Cup 2021

Simone Roche, CEO & Founder, Northern Power Women


Coffee in the Networking Area

"Oldham's Industrial Revolution(s)"

Once the industrial capital of the world, Oldham experienced sudden and rapid economic growth during the industrial revolution that heralded a shift from hand production manufacturing to machines, steam power and the factory system; becoming the most important centre for cotton and textile industries on the planet, with 360 mills operating day and night at the town's industrial peak.


However, with the decline of the domestic textile sector as the importation of cheaper foreign yarns increased in the 20th century, Oldham's economy fell into a depression; since then, the town has struggled to reform its economy and revive its global prominence. 


Oldham has a plan to regenerate its town centre and comprehensively restructure its socio-economic outlook. However, before the local authority and MPs can deliver the vision, Oldham needs to attract inward investment to drive the transformation. In doing so, the town must ask; how does it factor into the Northern Powerhouse initiative? What can central government do to ensure that Oldham, as well as similar towns in the North, aren't left behind by the concentration of economic growth in cities? 

"Building Resilient Local Economies"

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


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

  • 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; devolutionary powers, connectivity, cultural investment and scientific innovation.
  • How central government strategies, such as the new Industrial Strategy, must be implemented in a manner that reflects the variances in regional economies.
"The Preston Model"

Preston City Council have adopted an economic model contingent on the redirection of procurement from exterior suppliers to local producers. Originating in the Basque region of Spain and refined in Cleveland, Ohio; in his address to delegates, Councillor Matthew Brown will detail what has become known as the Preston Model.


In 2012, one in three Preston school children lived in poverty, the area fell within the bottom 20% of the government's index of multiple deprivation and the council's central government grant was slashed from £30m to £18m; Councillor Martyn Rawlinson, cabinet member for resources said: "By 2020 they've left us in a position where there isn't enough money to run the council... There wont be enough for the basic statutory services they say we are legally obliged to provide."


Seeking alternative economic models as a means of counteracting austerity, Preston commissioned the thinktank Centre for Local Economic Strategies to identify 12 large institutions that are 'anchored' to the region, including both city and county councils, the University of Central Lancashire, the hospital, police force and housing commission; beginning to redirect the annual spending power of these institutions (£1.2bn) towards local businesses. The council's £1.6m catering contract was broken up and awarded to local farmers and a £600,000 printing contract tendered by the local constabulary was given to a Preston-based firm. Since taking the bold move to redirect procurement locally, the city has beaten out Liverpool and Manchester to be recognised in the 2016 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.


The Preston Model is far from complete. Councillor Matthew Brown, the man credited with spearheading the initiative has spoken about his desire to establish a community bank and municipal energy partnerships, using the council's pension fund for investment in the local economy and working with local co-operatives to fill gaps in supply chains. In his address at the Northern Economic Summit, Matthew will discuss whether the Preston Model can be adopted in other northern towns and cities to replicate similar results, how Brexit will impact Preston's economic reform and how the city will continue to experiment with a post-capitalist framework. 


Northern Economy - Panel Discussion

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive, Railway Industry Association (confirmed)

Professor Amar Ramudhin, Director, Logistics and Humber Development Institute, University of Hull (confirmed)

Senior Executive, Office for National Statistics (confirmed)

Speaker TBC


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair's Afternoon Address

  • Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (confirmed)
"Northern Powerhouse 2.0"

The government minister spearheading the Northern Powerhouse initiative has expressed his desire to redirect the emphasis of the scheme away from big cities and towards smaller towns; Northern Powerhouse 2.0.


Citing Manchester, the host-city of the Northern Economic Summit, as a disproportional benefactor from the NP scheme when juxtaposed with smaller northern towns. Jake Berry MP has argued that big cities 'suck in labour and investment and people from Lancashire towns like Rawtenstall, Darwen and Blackburn.' This marks a divergence from George Osborne's mantra when formulating the Northern Powerhouse, which centred around the five big cities; Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle. The minister will demonstrate to delegates how shifting the focus from cities to towns and rural communities will further re-balance the economic disparity between North and South.


Mr Berry is a strong advocate of devolution: "I am a devolutionist. I got into politics to take money and power away from Westminster and return it to the north of England." The minister has endorsed the election of five Metro Mayors across the UK and, with the prospect of further devolutionary powers being granted to Yorkshire in the near future, Mr Berry will outline how the delegation of governing powers to regional and local authorities factors into the Northern Powerhouse 2.0.           


Case Study

  • Tim Foster, Head of Economic Advice, Transport for the North (confirmed)
"Transport for the North"

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; Transport for the North is England's first sub-national transport body - established to transform connectivity across the North 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). 


Rail networks in the North, particularly services ran by the Northern Rail franchise, have lost the confidence of commuters and politicians alike - with Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham leading the campaign to reform the network given the near-collapse of Northern Rail services in recent months: "In my view, if the new May timetable is not fully operational by August, proceedings should be initiated to remove the franchise. As far as I'm concerned, this emergency timetable represents the last chance saloon for Northern."


With the region's rail networks in free-fall, a senior representative from Transport for the North will present to delegates on the necessity of implementing the transformational improvements advocated by TfN, civic leaders and commuters across both rail and roads in the North; with a particular emphasis on the Northern Powerhouse Rail initiative.


Case Study


Chair's Closing Remarks


Event Close

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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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