Westminster Social Policy Forum

Conferences that are scheduled to take place before September will be conducted online.
The format will mirror physical conferences organised by the Forum with speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish.
The conferences will be chaired and there will be opportunities for delegate questions and comments.
We will be contacting all participants in advance of each conference with full information and guidance on how to take part.
There will be some exceptions where conferences will be postponed, for instance those that would largely involve key stakeholders in the NHS or emergency services.
All participants affected by this will be informed as soon as possible.
If you’d like to speak to us over the phone about any booking-related queries, please call one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7538736244

The future for the Northern Powerhouse - policy priorities, investment and growth, and next steps for infrastructure development

Morning, Tuesday, 8th September 2020

Central Manchester


This conference focuses on the future for the Northern Powerhouse.

Stakeholders and policymakers in local and national government will discuss priorities for infrastructure development and supporting economic growth - and what is needed from government policy to support for the Northern Powerhouse into the future.

It will be an opportunity to assess future for the HS2, with the Prime Minister:

Delegates will also examine wider priorities for infrastructure in the North in context of the National Infrastructure Strategy and Infrastructure Finance Review - due to be published alongside the Spring Budget.


There will be a keynote contribution from Henri Murison, Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

Further speakers include:

  • Miranda Barker, Chief Executive, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce;
  • Sarah Davies, Northern Powerhouse Lead, Environment Agency;
  • Tracy Harrison, Chief Executive, Northern Housing Consortium;
  • Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport for the North; and
  • Alex Towers, Director, Policy and Public Affairs, BT.

The agenda

  • Strategic priorities for the Northern Powerhouse;
  • Delivering economic growth across the North of England and attracting businesses and investment;
    • Balancing regional economic priorities, attracting investment and implementing Local Industrial Strategies;
    • Tackling the productivity gap, developing skills, harnessing new technology, and taking advantage of growing opportunities for business;
    • Strategies for establishing world-leading R&D facilities in the Powerhouse;
    • The contribution of the North of England in the drive towards net-zero emissions, and priorities for improving natural capital;
  • Next steps for infrastructure development in the North - connectivity, value for money and maximising the economic impact;
    • Future housing developments and creating a ‘construction corridor’ in the North;
    • Rail infrastructure in the region - building trust in the network and moving forward with Northern Powerhouse Rail;
    • Priorities for HS2 - providing a cost-efficient service, supporting economic growth, and engaging communities; and
    • Expanding digital infrastructure, improving quality of service and accelerating 5G rollout.
  • Next steps for policy in the Northern Powerhouse.

Keynote Speaker

Henri Murison

Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership


Dr Aulay Mackenzie

Pro-Vice Chancellor, Partnerships, Wrexham Glyndwr University

Alex Towers

Director, Policy and Public Affairs, BT

Councillor Iain Malcolm

Leader, South Tyneside Council and Chair, North East Combined Authority

Miranda Barker

Chief Executive, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

Sarah Davies

Northern Powerhouse Lead, Environment Agency

Tracy Harrison

Chief Executive, Northern Housing Consortium

Tim Wood

Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport for the North