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16 Oct 2014

Leaders and commentators from major cities across the North set out the opportunities and growth potential of an interconnected North and greater devolution of powers at MIPIM UK yesterday.

MIPIM UK is the premier forum for property professionals looking to close deals in the UK market and attended by thousands of senior executives across property, planning, investment banking as well as Local Authority Chief Executives from 20 of the top cities across the UK.  Led by Leeds and Partners, on behalf of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, the Leeds City Region delegation will demonstrate to potential investors that the city region is investment ready, devolution ready and driving sustainable growth. 

The panel, including; Roger Marsh, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, James Newman, Chair of Sheffield LEP, Richard Threlfall, Head of UK Infrastructure, Building and Construction at KPMG, and Howard Bassford, Planning Partner at DLA Piper presented a unified voice on the importance of devolution for the English regions and the necessity of accelerating improved connectivity and infrastructure to develop an effective Northern powerhouse.

Roger Marsh, Chair, Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said: "The ability of the North to change this country's fortunes is extensive and it is time to recognise that the North is not the problem, but the solution to the UK's growth. To realise this potential we need true devolution, not just decentralisation; only then will we have the ability to drive sustainable and extraordinary growth that will accelerate the national debt reduction and deliver lasting benefits for the good of the whole country.”

With the panel supporting and advocating the acceleration of HS2 and the recently dubbed ‘HS3’, much of the discussion centred around the vital role infrastructure and connectivity play when establishing the North as a sustainable investment proposition. But the ability to exercise control and decision making over critical areas such as skills, housing, investment and transport was also considered vital to securing good economic growth.

Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive, Manchester City Council said: "If northern cities are to compete internationally, and reach their full potential in contributing to the nation's economy, improved connections are essential. This means not just HS2 but also the ambitious 15-year investment plan outlined in the recent One North report. This is about road improvements as much as rail, recognising the need to enhance links between our cities, ports and airports.

"But we also need greater freedoms and to create the right conditions for economic growth. Taken together, these opportunities can help unlock a North which makes a much greater contribution to a stronger national economy. We need all the main political parties to demonstrate their commitment to making devolution work for our cities."

 

"growth will come from the private sector and it is the job of the public sector to enable that growth. We have to think behind our geographical boundaries and work collectively to realise the huge potential that direct investment in the North can bring." 

James newman, Chair, Sheffield City Region

Richard Threlfall, UK Head, Infrastructure, Building and Construction , KPMG "Our northern city regions today have a population a third larger than London, but an economic output that is a third less. Some may see this as failure but I see it as opportunity. Over the next decade the emerging political and business vision around a single northern powerhouse should lead to greater investment in infrastructure to improve local, national and international connectivity, as well as in housing and skills. Fundamental to this is greater devolution, so that our north can invest in its own future as part of a greater investment in the future competitiveness of the UK as a whole. We now need to see real and deep commitment from Whitehall to give the North the political and financial levers to deliver a growing and robust economy.”

Leeds City Region attendance at MIPIM UK is led by Leeds and Partners on behalf of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and will see Bradford, Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York collaborate to highlight the unique investment development and occupier opportunities in the region, specifically those surrounding HS2, the Northern Hub and the potential for devolution.

Leeds City Region at MIPIM UK is supported by the LEP and sponsored by Hammerson, Shulmans and Commercial Estates Group (CEG), with additional support from GVA, Gent Visick, Deloitte, Savills, Monaghans, Aecom, Munroe K, PwC KPMG and DLA Piper, all of whom will be joining the delegation.