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The UK2070 National Symposium – Facing up to Inequalities across the UK

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The UK2070 National Symposium, held at Leeds Civic Hall on 13 June 2019, heard speakers from all parts of the United Kingdom call for fundamental changes to address long-standing and deep-rooted inequalities throughout the country.

The Symposium provided an opportunity for the UK2070 Commission to present and test the findings in the First Report of the UK2070 Commission. This included the Report’s Agenda for Action based around the need to:

  • Deliver effective devolution and decentralisation;
  • Restructure the economy;
  • Enable long term spatial planning;
  • Provide stable long-term funding for action.

We will be holding another symposium later in the year – more information will be added to the Events Page soon.

To view the day’s full programme itinerary please click here, or alternatively click on the hyperlink on a speaker’s name to view the presentation they gave to the Symposium (a transcript of the accompanying speech is also embedded in the PDF where possible).

Speakers included:

Councillor Judith Blake CBE (Chair of the Core Cities UK Network), whose leadership of Leeds City Council demonstrated the potential for local action where there is vision and resources.
The Right Honourable The Lord Kerslake (Chair of the UK2070 Commission), who set out the challenges in the UK2070 First Report under the theme of Bringing the Nations Together.
The Right Honourable Andy Burnham (The Mayor of Greater Manchester), who called for a Powering up of the North as key to answering the question “Devolution – What Next?
Professor Philip McCann (Chair of Urban and Regional Economics at the University of Sheffield Management School and Tagliaferri Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge), who set out unequivocal evidence on the scale and nature of the problems of inequality, drawing upon new international comparisons from OECD research.
Boe Pahari (Global Head of Infrastructure Equity & Director North West Region at AMP Capital), who drew upon his experience globally of investing long-term in infrastructure, demonstrating the need for a more strategic and visionary approach based on the theme of ‘From Imagination to Infrastructure’.
Mayor James Palmer (The Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough), who highlighted the challenges created for areas of growth and the need for innovative approaches to housing policy; especially in the delivery of affordable housing.
Dr. George W. McCarthy (President and CEO of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy), who demonstrated through international examples, ranging from the USA to Taiwan, of countries being transformed by long term vision and commitment to change.
The Right Honourable The Lord Heseltine CH (Former Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State) who set out the institutional challenges of delivering change within the culture of inertia that presently pervades the British political establishment.

The Full Programme included contributions from:

Professor Gillian Bristow (Professor in Economic Geography and Dean of Research for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cardiff University)
Deborah Cadman OBE (Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority)
Emma Degg (Chief Executive of the North West Business Leadership Team)
Professor Duncan Maclennan CBE (Professor of Public Policy at the University of Glasgow)
John Mothersole (Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council)
Peter Nears (Executive Director of Strategic Planning at The Peel Group)

Young Professionals Panel, chaired by Dr. Lucy Natarajan (University College London)

The Symposium was also addressed from the following leading young professionals on a range of perspectives about future challenges:
Tom Arnold (PhD Researcher at The University of Manchester, researching transport planning and devolution in the North of England)
Philip Brown (UK2070 Commission Research Associate for The University of Sheffield)
Dr. Stefania Fiorentino (PhD in Planning and Economic Geography from the Bartlett School of Planning; Senior Consultant in Economic Development and Planning at AECOM)
Kathryn Irish (Digital Waste and Recycling Advisor at Leeds City Council)
Jane Healey Brown (Head of Town Planning at Arup North West & Yorkshire; Greater Manchester Commissioner for Planning and Housing)

Development Corporation Hosts UK2070 Commission

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·       UK2070 Commission hosts strategic meeting outside of Greater London
·       Development Corporation outlines opportunities to transform Tees Valley

The UK2070 Commission has visited the South Tees Development Corporation to learn about the UK’s biggest development opportunity, as it seeks to shape national and regional economic policy.

The Commission, which is chaired by Lord Kerslake, chose to take this strategic meeting outside of London, to Tees Valley, to better understand the opportunities and issues across the 4,500-acre site. In partnership with the National Infrastructure Commission, a round-table discussion with senior stakeholders such as PD Ports, focused on the powers of devolution to the regions, north-south inequalities and Freeport opportunities post Brexit.

The 30-strong group was also given a tour of the former SSI site, encompassing Teesport, showcasing the development prospects with an emphasis on its context in relation to transport and utilities infrastructure.

The purpose of the Commission is to explore the nature and depth of regional inequalities in the UK and highlight the imbalances to Government, identifying how policy can be shaped to address this. It aims to reinforce the devolution agenda of regions to maximise their potential for sustainable, inclusive growth and aims to support both regional strategies and Government’s Industrial Strategy.

John McNicholas, Engineering and Programme Director of South Tees Development Corporation, said: “It’s a real coup to have captured the UK2070’s attention and it’s superb that they’ve chosen South Tees to hold such a meeting outside of London.

“We’ve got a long-term plan to transform this site and the region over the next 20 years. It was great to highlight to the Commission the task in hand and show them our international-scale opportunities.”

“They regularly speak to many other influential people and organisations and will be well placed to positively talk up the site and wider Tees Valley.”

The Development Corporation has recently achieved a number of major milestones, including acquiring more than 1,400 acres of readily developable land from Tata Steel Europe; commencing a £1million access road scheme in South Bank; and instigating compulsory purchase proceedings for a further 870 acres of land held by SSI UK in receivership.

During the visit, the Commission also heard how the site has seen a total of £137million of Government funding, and learned that the £14million awarded in the Autumn Budget in 2018 is now being used to remediate land ready for new investors.

Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said: “Our visit to Teesside has been a valuable opportunity to meet with local leaders and hear about their ambitious plans for redevelopment.

“We look forward to continuing to work with partners in the North East to make the case for stable, long-term infrastructure investment.”

Lord Kerslake, UK2070 Commission Chair, said: “The UK2070 Commission provides an opportunity to look afresh at the large and growing economic disparities in this country. The UK2070 Commission visit will provide an opportunity to look at how this plays out in a particular place. The powerful leadership being shown locally cannot disguise the scale of the challenge. I hope that our report will give some impetus to what you are seeking to achieve”.

COO of PD Ports Jerry Hopkinson said: “We are delighted to welcome the UK2070 Commission to the Tees Valley as it seeks to shape and influence national and regional economic policy. The visit was an opportunity to highlight the significant economic opportunity here in the Tees Valley with ambitious redevelopment plans within the South Tees Development Corporation site. At Teesport we have seen more than£1billion invested, directly by the business and through third-party investors in the last ten years, to support the growth of international trade. The port will undoubtedly be a catalyst in attracting further inward investment to the former steelworks site; supporting the delivery of long-term economic growth across the region.”

Bill McElroy, Head of Industry Strategy – Programme Advisory at Turner & Townsend, said: “I am delighted to be supporting the UK2070 Commission, by chairing the debate in Redcar. This follows a similar session last November in London.”