Westminster Business Forum

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Next steps for the Liverpool City Region Local Industrial Strategy - supporting business and R&D, infrastructure investment, delivering inclusive growth, and moving forward from the impact of COVID-19

Morning, Friday, 11th September 2020

Online Conference


***Full policy conference taking place online***

This conference will assess the development of the Liverpool City Region Local Industrial Strategy.

We expect discussion to focus on how to achieve the aims of inclusive and sustainable growth, delivery of new infrastructure, and securing improvements to wellbeing.

This will also be an opportunity to consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Liverpool, its communities and citizens - as well as how it is likely to affect the development and implementation of the local industrial strategy, and the new priorities that it introduces for economic recovery, planning, and supporting public health and wellbeing.

Policymakers and stakeholders will examine latest developments and the way forward, looking at:

  • formulating a long-term economic plan and targeting key areas - priorities for local business development, community support, and improving opportunities for city residents
  • Liverpool’s R&D base - higher education facilities, regional skills, and protecting business and research institutions - including from potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • addressing social challenges - next steps in health, wellbeing and tackling poverty across Liverpool, and improving city-wide infrastructure such as housing and transportation
  • cross-regional collaboration - and improving economic and business links with key stakeholders outside of Liverpool

The context to the discussion:

  • Development of a Liverpool City Region Local Industrial Strategy, which will outline:
    • a vision for developing local economic and business potential
    • new opportunities for city residents
    • measures to alleviate health and wellbeing challenges across the City Region
  • The ongoing COVID-19 emergency and its impact on families and communities in Liverpool, as well as on economic growth
  • Creation by Liverpool City Council of the Standing Action Group on Poverty and Life Chances which will focus on opportunities to address and reduce child poverty across Liverpool
  • The Metro Mayor launching a series of measures, including:
    • a Future Innovation Fund pilot programme to support SMEs to innovate and adapt to changing circumstances resulting from the pandemic
    • a consultation on the future development of the Liverpool City Region, and its framework for a Spatial Development Strategy
    • the coordination of infrastructure planning, land use, and the provision of housing
  • Commitments in the Spring Budget to increase public R&D investment to £22bn a year by 2024-2025, as well as support major infrastructure projects like HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail

The discussion in detail:

Connectivity - in the Liverpool City Region and more widely, including rural areas - looking at:

  • what is needed from the transport elements of the Strategy to support regeneration and contribute to carbon reduction in new infrastructure development
  • what government commitments to prioritising infrastructure investment on a number of major railways investments means for the Strategy, including:
    • the impact of transport projects such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse rail on Merseyside’s economy and boosting passenger and freight capacity
    • the potential of the Port of Liverpool’s Liverpool2 container terminal

Housing - including:

  • Liverpool City Council’s strategy to ensure vacant homes will be directly matched to homeless people currently living in hotels during the COVID-19 lockdown, as housing associations have made over 200 houses available
  • the funding of schemes such as foundations, set up by the city council with the aim of creating 10,000 affordable new homes over the next decade, with the Council estimating that the city will need 27,000 new homes by 2030 to meet demand, and Liverpool experiencing a shortage of affordable homes

Business innovation and growth - including:

  • what more needs to be done to support new businesses and help them secure funding
  • increasing collaboration between universities and businesses to support innovation and retain talent locally - with concerns about a focus on large scale ventures that excludes SMEs
  • supporting businesses to increase the export of products and services
  • wider measures to improve productivity and create high value employment

An inclusive economy - including strategic options for supporting the aims of:

  • maximising prosperity for individuals and communities across the region
  • addressing longstanding challenges - particularly in health, employment, skills, and connectivity

Health and wellbeing - including:

  • the way forward for tackling inequalities across the region, particularly child poverty
  • driving growth in high value sectors, such as maritime and the visitor economy, in order to create more employment
  • mental health, and how to address the underlying factors leading to:
    • Liverpool having one of the highest rates of depression and anxiety in the country, according to a survey of patients registered with GPs
    • figures from Public Health England showing that one in every five registered patients in the Liverpool area suffers from mental health conditions

The agenda:

  • Priorities for the Liverpool City Region Local Industrial Strategy - with Aileen Jones, Assistant Director, Policy and Strategic Commissioning, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
  • Positioning Liverpool at the forefront of R&D - with Professor Janet Hemingway, Professor of Vector Biology and Director, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • Developing Liverpool’s businesses and productivity - regional skills, collaboration with the HE sector, and moving forward from the impact of COVID on families, communities and the economy
  • Wellbeing and social challenges throughout Liverpool - priorities for tackling poverty, inequality and poor mental health
  • The Isle of Man and Liverpool City Region - economic co-operation and promoting business links - with Hon. David Ashford MHK, Minister for Health & Social Care, Isle of Man
  • Next steps for housing, major infrastructure projects and transport

Policy officials attending

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. 

It is certainly the case with this conference. Places have been reserved by officials from BEIS; MHCLG; the Department for Education; DWP; UKRI; the Intellectual Property Office; HM Revenue & Customs; and the Department for International Trade.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Professor Janet Hemingway

Professor of Vector Biology and Director, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Keynote Speakers

Professor Janet Hemingway

Professor of Vector Biology and Director, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Hon. David Ashford MHK

Minister for Health & Social Care, Isle of Man

Aileen Jones

Assistant Director, Policy and Strategic Commissioning, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority


Conor McGinn MP

Member of Parliament for St. Helens North and Secretary, Liverpool City Region APPG


Bronwen Rapley

Chief Executive Officer, Onward Homes

Richard Kenyon

Chief Executive Officer, Everton in the Community

Matthew Ashton

Director of Public Health, Liverpool City Council

Elaine Bowker

Principal and Chief Executive, Liverpool Community College

Liam Kelly

Chief Executive Officer, Make Liverpool

Dr Alan Jemmett

Director, Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service

Matt Parish

Foundation Director, Liverpool FC

Margaret Hanson

Chief Executive Officer, Imagine Independence

Dr Sophie Wickham

Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, Public Health & Policy, University of Liverpool

Peter Carew

Director, Research and Development, Unilever R&D Port Sunlight Laboratory

Henri Murison

Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership