TWO more huge names have been added as backers for the Great Northern Conference, an event designed to add further fuel to the Northern Powerhouse.
Professional services giant EY and major regional airport Doncaster Sheffield Airport have signed up to sponsor the Great Northern Conference, due to take place in Leeds on Tuesday February 26.
In addition, Lynette Huntley - chief of staff at broadcaster Channel 4 is the latest big name to be added to the conference alongside the likes of George Osborne and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.
Ms Huntley is part of the broadcaster’s executive leadership team and has been heavily involved in its nations and regions strategy.
She will join economist Lord Jim O’Neill, president and vice-chancellor of The University of Manchester Dame Nancy Rothwell, Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott and Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry.
Robert Hough, chairman of Doncaster Sheffield Airport’s owner Peel Airports, said: “We’re pleased to be supporting this important conference that will set the agenda at a pivotal time for the UK and our economy.
“The North of England is ready to deliver even more to the UK economy. This is felt across the North, with a tremendous collective will to seize this moment. To do this we must push for national support of projects that can bring rapid economic and social change for people and businesses in the North.
“We have assets in the North with national potential that must be utilised such as Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA). DSA can deliver not only greater international connectivity for the North but stimulate new investment, movement of goods, housing and help balance the economy across the east side of the country.
“We’re pleased to be supporting this important conference that will set the agenda at a pivotal time for the UK and our economy.”
EY has run a number of Innovation Sprint events in recent months in order to “listen and understand” the priorities of business in the region.
Stephen Church, Partner in EY’s advisory business, said: “One of the key findings has been how we should channel the priorities through one voice and have a single champion to engage with Whitehall as we look to bring the digital priority for the North to the attention of those in Government.”
The day-long conference will begin in earnest with a talk on the ‘State of the North’, while other topics include ‘business growth’; ‘SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises): The future of a Northern Powerhouse?’; ‘Connectivity’, a discussion on planned and required developments to improve connections between northern cities and towns in order to positively impact business growth; ‘Education and Skills’; and ‘Investment’.
James Mitchinson, editor of The Yorkshire Post, said: “For too long now the people of this region have been left wanting.
“This is our opportunity to set the tone and tempo for the whole of the North at a crucial time in the nation’s history.
“But this won’t be a chorus of lamentation; I hope stakeholders from all sectors seize this opportunity to set expectations and give ownership to those expectations so that we can properly monitor progress and react accordingly.”
The event will be hosted by ITV’s Good Morning Britain journalist Ranvir Singh.
See www.greatnorthernpowerhouse.co.uk for more information.