Gove to meet with Northern leaders at levelling up convention
Secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove will join council leaders and metro mayors in examining the future of the region at Convention of the North with NP11.
The all-day event will be held on 8 February at The Spine in Liverpool. Due to Covid concerns, there will not be a general admission option for the event. However, the conference will be livestreamed for all those interested.
Convention of the North will focus on the ‘Five Game-Changers for the North’, a list first published in a report in October 2021. The game-changers are areas where the government can collaborate with the North to boost the region’s economy. Those game-changers are:
- Leading the Green Industrial Revolution
- Closing the healthy life expectancy gap between the North and South through innovation
- Closing the education and skills gap
- Improving connectivity in towns and cities in the North
- Increasing private and public investment in research and development spending in the North
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has worked alongside NP11 and Culture Liverpool in organising the conference.
“Next month’s Convention of the North will be a unique opportunity for community, business and political leaders to come together to make sense of what exactly ‘levelling up’ is, and work out an action plan to help make it a reality,” said Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region.
“Levelling up has to be about more than just big spending announcements and shiny infrastructure projects,” he continued.
“To mean anything, levelling up has to tackle long-standing structural inequalities that exist between North and South. From healthcare and job prospects to transport and infrastructure spending, people’s lives can be radically different based on where they happen to be born. This is not an issue of party politics but one of fairness and social justice.”
“It is fantastic to welcome leaders from across the country to the Liverpool City Region but let me be clear: this is not designed to be a talking shop,” Rotheram said.
“I want this to deliver concrete plans for improving the lives of the nearly 16m people who call the North home. The success of the UK, not only in the present but for generations to come is dependent on a strong North. This is our chance to make it happen.”
NP11 group chair Sir Roger Marsh said he was hoping the 2022 convention could echo the success of the 2019 event.
“The Convention of the North with NP11 in 2019 was hugely important because it was the first commitment to work across partners to realise the North’s full potential,” Marsh said. “With the UK at a critical moment, we hope this event will build on its successes and I look forward to a productive, challenging, inspiring and open conversation that will help us collectively turn potential into delivery.
“The two-plus years since the last convention have seen unprecedented change across the North and globally. Despite the challenges we face, there are also many causes for optimism,” Marsh continued.
“The North has the skills, drive and innovation to benefit the whole UK by leading the fourth industrial revolution, focusing on green jobs and health innovation. As well as levelling up our powerhouse northern region, this will deliver on the government’s vision for a competitive global Britain.”
Nick Forbes, the chair of Convention of the North and the leader of Newcastle City Council, stated that the event would be “a great opportunity to bring civic, business, and cultural leaders from the North together to work with government to better understand how levelling up will ensure that the economic and social potential of the North is unlocked”.
He continued: “Our cities, towns, and villages have so much to offer, but it is by only working together, in collaboration with government, that we will ensure we are all getting the most from levelling up and provide lasting and meaningful change for the North that provides opportunities for everyone, regardless of where they live. We need to jointly reset the relationship and make a commitment to change.”
More information on how to livestream Convention of the North will be released closer to the time of the event.