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Finding True North: Realising the Northern Powerhouse

8th July 2016
Finding True North: Realising the Northern Powerhouse


Finding True North is the next step forward for the Northern Powerhouse agenda placing identity, culture, collaboration, and innovation at its heart.


The Government’s Northern Powerhouse concept has unlocked the door to prosperity outside of the South-East, and given the keys to regional leaders. A key test of this political move’s success will be how it translates into real change for the people who live there. Progress can not be judged solely on higher living standards or the number of jobs created. We must ensure that greater freedoms for citizens aren’t just economic, but instead that this once in a generation opportunity enables communities to rebuild and society to improve.

Successful cities and regions are also powerhouses for new ideas, technological innovation and cultural creativity. Finding True North will foster debate as to how we re-awaken and nurture these capacities in our northern cities. We’ll be exploring whether there is an underpinning sense of identity and connection around which the North can build not only economic prosperity, but forge a cultural and intellectual renaissance.

The North is filled with tremendous potential, backed by a rich history of cultural diversity and intellectual curiosity. When taken together, the region is home to a number of clear and powerful identities. Newly devolved powers should enable leaders to make use of these distinct identities, defining a local region’s priorities and needs, and fostering the pride that will rejuvenate rather than deter. The North has a proud history of creativity, entrepreneurship, independence and industry. Enabling collaboration between its businesses, sectors, communities and public services, and fostering constructive and positive dialogue between newly invigorated and empowered local leaders and those who they are elected to serve.

Northern cities have for the most part moved to embrace the opportunities extended to them to in the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill. There is widespread agreement that ‘city deals’ will enable regeneration and improvement, attracting inward investment necessary for creating a successful future for all its 22 million inhabitants. Without greater effort to collaborate and foster unity, the region would be unable to escape historic under-performance of its economy and the Government’s ambition for a Northern Powerhouse will be left unfulfilled.

ResPublica’s trail-blazing report Devo Max – Devo Manc spearheaded the debate about city devolution, arguing that Northern cities and regions developing broader autonomy would be a pre-condition for renewal. Finding True North will platform this discussion as the North embarks on an exciting age of opportunity.


  • Realising the Northern Powerhouse
  • Spreading prosperity across the North
  • Finding True North


Registration: 09.30

Welcome & keynotes: 10.15

  • Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Channel 4 News
  • Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government
  • Phillip Blond, Director of ResPublica

What are the problems of the North? 11.30

  • Phillip Blond, Director of ResPublica
  • Sir Richard Leese, eader of Manchester City Council
  • Dan Jarvis MP – By the North, For the North
  • Ivan Lewis, Mayoral Candidate for Greater Manchester

— Lunch —

Breakout Sessions: 13.45 – 15.45

  • Energy – The Northern POWERhouse
    Lisa Nandy MP, Shadow Energy Secretary

  • Health  – Addressing Northern Health Inequality
    George Freeman MP, Health Minister
  • Innovation – Opportunity and Innovation in the North
    Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Tech Minister

  • Transport – The Northern Engine of Growth
    Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool
    John Cridland, Transport for the North Chair (invited)

  • Education – The Education Divide
    Lucy Powell MP, Shadow Education Secretary

  • Housing – The Homes the North Needs
    Mark Ferguson, Homes for the North

Finding True North: 16.00 – 17.00

  • James Wharton MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse
  • Phillip Blond, Director of ResPublica
  • Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council





Finding True North
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