UK Northern Powerhouse appoints Advisory Board

The UK Northern Powerhouse Conference has appointed an advisory board of leading figures from the North of England to assist it in driving forwards its plans for supporting significant growth in the Northern economy.

Made up of leaders in the fields of business and public services from across the region and beyond, the advisory board have a number of responsibilities. Key priorities for the group include reviewing and monitoring government responses to the ten recommendations outlined in the Outcomes Report of the 2016 UK Northern Powerhouse Conference. These include the need for: A regional strategy for Science, Research and Skills, better engagement with corporate transport infrastructure users and providers and a Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The board will also propose relevant issues and topics for inclusion in the 2017 UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference & Exhibition, which will take place on February 21 and 22 at Manchester Central.

Championing innovative private sector Northern Powerhouse related work projects that will make a contribution to the realization of economic growth in the North of England are also high on the agenda for the newly appointed panel.

The confirmed members of the group are:


  • Lord Kerslake (Chair)
  • Pat Ritchie (CEO, Newcastle City Council)
  • John Mothersole (CEO, Sheffield City Council)
  • Roger Marsh OBE (Chair, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership LEP)
  • Simon Nokes (Managing Director of New Economy, part of Greater Manchester Combined Authority)
  • Ajaz Ahmed (“Freeserve” Entrepreneur and Chair, Federation of Asian Businesses)
  • Mike Emmerich (Founding Director, Metro Dynamics)
  • Sarah Green (Director for Member Relations & Regions & Nations, CBI)
  • Paul Marsh (Head of Development and Finance, Capital Investment Group, Department for International Trade)
  • Alexandra Jones (CEO, Centre for Cities)

Earlier this year, the UK Northern Powerhouse Outcomes Report, was published following substantial research into business attitudes at the 2016 UK Northern Powerhouse Conference and Exhibition, which took place in February.

The report includes ten recommendations as next steps for those concerned with ensuring the Powerhouse fulfils its potential. These include simplified governance encapsulating devolved city regions and central government and revenue raising powers for local government in order to enable them to re-invest locally.

The group has also called for the establishment of a Northern Powerhouse Export Agency and a Northern strategy for science, skills and research, along with the creation of a Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Another key strategy identified by the Northern Powerhouse includes the acceleration of plans for the HS2 (including a link to Liverpool) and the HS3 to better connect Manchester and Leeds. As well as improved Transpennine connectivity linking the north’s two great ports Liverpool and Hull.

Discussing the appointments, Martin Venning, director of UK Northern Powerhouse Conference and Exhibition, said:

“This is a pivotal period for the UK Northern Powerhouse. The ramifications of Brexit and its attendant effects on the economy mean a strong force is needed to ensure that the interests of the North are well-represented and more importantly  that the initiatives that will make a difference in this region actually come to fruition.

“The Northern Powerhouse  Independent Economic Review published by Transport for the North has demonstrated that if the right steps are taken, then the Northern economy can expand by an extra £97bn and 850,000 jobs by 2050. However, without the right action, the North will be further alienated from the South East and many opportunities will be lost.”

The 2017 UK Northern Powerhouse Conference and Exhibition takes place on February 21 and 22 at Manchester Central and is expected to attract some 3,000 delegates over two days.

The conference is one of the few events to attract delegates from across the entire range of sectors, with leading political, academic and business figures from across the North of England present.

Topics being addressed during the conference include productivity, manufacturing, transport and infrastructure, housing, devolution competitiveness, productivity and the North as an international powerhouse.

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