Convention for the North and NP11 call for seismic shift in funding and powers to ‘level up’ the North

13th September 2019

Boris Johnson at the Convention of the North with NP11
  • Convention and NP11 bring together public, private and third sector representatives from all parts of the North to unite behind a new vision for the region.
  • Leaders to call for a jointly agreed Northern Powerhouse Strategy – a manifesto for the north which will set out clearly what the North is asking of its own people, as well as from Government.
  • Ambition is to present a set of policy “asks” to the Government – created by the North for the North.

The influential Convention of the North and NP11 will today set out and debate a number of bold actions and radical ideas that could – if agreed by leaders of the North and backed by Government and business – lead to revolutionary change for Northern England and the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

In a speech to be delivered at today’s working convention, Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the NP11 which brings together the 11 northern local enterprise partnerships will outline why the North must be placed front and centre of Government plans for UK competitiveness and prosperity beyond Brexit.

Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council and on behalf of the Convention for the North will set out how Northern leaders can build on recent successful campaigns – including the Northern media’s ‘Power Up the North’ and ‘One North’ campaigns – to make lasting changes and, if given the right tools, enable important decisions to be taken that will vastly improve people’s lives.

Key policy proposals will be debated at the event through a series of policy workshops. These proposals include:

  • Creating a coherent Northern Powerhouse strategy, designed and led by the North –working with Government to ensure the strategy runs throughout national policy – which sets out a clear long-term vision for the North with an ambitious plan to achieve it.
  • A step-change in the level of investment allocated to the North – to be achieved by a long-term investment programme linked to the Northern Powerhouse Strategy, which explicitly tackles the systemic issues and historic underinvestment that currently prevent the North fulfilling its potential.
  • Improvements to Government Policy such as the current Green Book appraisal system, to place greater emphasis on social value and long-term growth, targeting those areas that face the greatest challenges – and therefore could deliver the greatest rewards for people, the economy and the Exchequer.
  • Enhanced powers for the North for the benefit of the UK as a whole, building on existing strong partnerships between the public and private sectors across skills and education, housing, energy, trade and investment, innovation, and transport.

The findings from the policy workshops covering skills, transport, innovation, trade and investment, clean growth and housing will culminate in the final session of the day led by Mayor Andy Burnham in which a “Manifesto for the North” will result.

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the NP11 said: “Despite the clear economic opportunity the North represents, the North-South divide continues to widen, holding back our economy, our productivity and people’s opportunities.

“That is why this working convention today, the largest of its kind, is vital so that we go beyond discussion of the challenges we face and focus on the action we can take as northerners, working with national government, to build a North that works for everyone: for business, for people – for young people especially.

“We need bold ideas from the North and radical change from Government that leads to a seismic shift in funding and powers if we are to truly ‘level up’ the North.  I very much look forward to contributing and listening to the debate that results from today so that we can together turn words into action.”

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council and chair of Convention for the North, said:

“There is a restless drumbeat of progress across the North. We are rightly fiercely proud of our towns and cities, and we all want them to succeed, but we are not afraid of the need to change, and we welcome any government that empowers us in our aims.

“Our North is one that is ready to take on its challenges. Today we come together to address the big issues with a clear message to government – give us the tools to finally close the north south divide.

“From transport investment to job creation, it is crucial that Government backs our ambition. We are ready for the next stage in the devolution journey, and I look forward to working with ministers to secure this.”

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis said:

“I’m delighted that the Sheffield City Region is hosting this significant event today. Our country stands at a time of great change, which presents both challenges and opportunities.

“By working together across the North, maximising collaboration between the public and private sectors and bridging the political divide, we can make the North’s case on a national and international level, power our economy and narrow the inequality gap that persists within the UK.”

The Convention of the North with NP11, supported by Government, brings together people from all parts of the North, including business leaders, council leaders and elected mayors, young people, education and third sector leaders, and central government. Those attending the event will debate policy across the key themes of skills and education, housing, transport, innovation, trade and investment, and clean growth.

The event is intended to make a powerful, unified case to the new Prime Minister and Government for tangible investment in the Northern Powerhouse. Senior Government Ministers are expected to be in attendance throughout the day.

The legacy of the event will be to produce a way ahead for the Northern Powerhouse and to present a set of policy “asks” to the Government – created by the North for the North.

The event will be hosted by award-winning broadcaster and news reporter, Steph McGovern.

Speakers include Ruth Nic Aoidh, Executive Director – Commercial & Legal at McLaren Automotive, Amir Hussain, CEO of the award-winning Bradford Architectural practice, YEME Architects, and Member of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board; Dame Julie Kenny, chair of Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust; Simone Roche MBE, founder and CEO of Northern Power Women, a campaign to accelerate gender diversity from the North of England; and Ruth Ibegbuna, Founding Director of the Roots Programme, an initiative to bring together leaders and influencers from vastly different communities.

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