Realising Regional Growth

What next for the West Midlands?

The third in a series of regional events hosted by Centre for Cities
Thursday 30 June 2022

Event programme


9.30 - 10.00
Arrival and Breakfast

10.00 - 10.05
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities

10.05 - 10.25
Keynote Address
Lord Sainsbury of Turville, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, 1998 - 2006
In recent decades, the UK economy has been impacted by fierce competition from fast-growing developing countries.  As a result, many of our great former industrial cities have struggled to reinvent their economies and the North-South divide has widened. In this session, Lord Sainsbury of Turville outlines why many great former industrial cities have struggled to reinvent their economies and what can be done to ensure they achieve a faster rate of growth in the future.

10.25 - 10.35
Presentation: The West Midland's renaissance
Anthony Breach, Centre for Cities

10.35 - 11.15
In Conversation with Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands
The Levelling Up White Paper announced that the West Midlands will host one of three new pilot Innovation Accelerators, and offered a ‘trailblazer’ deal to build on the city region’s existing devolution agreement. In conversation with Mayor Andy Street, this session will explore how the levelling up policy agenda can build upon existing success to support further economic growth in the West Midlands, and what more the city region needs from central Government in order to realise this potential.  

11.15 - 11.45
Refreshment break

11.45 - 12.15
Keynote Address and Q&A
Pete Gladwell, Group Social Impact and Investment Director, Legal & General
The West Midlands Combined Authority recently announced a partnership agreement with L&G, committing to invest £4bn in regeneration, housing and levelling up across the West Midlands.  This session will explore what makes the city region such a good investment opportunity, what the partnership hopes to deliver during its tenure, and what more the private sector at large should be doing to support the delivery of the Levelling Up agenda.
12.15 - 1.00
Panel Session: Why is innovation the key to levelling up the West Midlands?
Henrietta Brealey, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce; Dr Pam Waddell, West Midlands Innovation Alliance; Professor Simon Green, Aston University and Midlands Innovation.
Innovation is the driver of productivity (and therefore economic) growth, but the levels of innovation continue to vary across the country. This panel will discuss why innovation is the key to levelling up the West Midlands, analysing the system’s existing strengths and weaknesses, the role of public policy in boosting it, and what lessons other city regions can take from the West Midlands in terms of spurring innovation.

1.00 - 1.30
Reflections of the Day and Q&A
Lord Sainsbury of Turville, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, 1998 - 2006
Reflecting on the day’s discussions, this final session will explore how the West Midlands can build on its historic strengths alongside a renewed focus on supporting innovation, research and development, in order to harness the opportunities presented by the Levelling Up agenda, and maximise growth not just across the region, but across the whole UK.

Meet the speakers

Lord Sainsbury of Turville
Former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, 1998 - 2006

David Sainsbury read History and Psychology at King’s College, Cambridge and received an M.B.A. from the Columbia Graduate School of Business in New York.

He was Finance Director of J. Sainsbury plc from 1973 – 1990 and Chairman from 1992 – 1998.

David Sainsbury became Lord Sainsbury of Turville in October 1997 and was Minister of Science and Innovation from July 1998 until November 2006.

He is the founder of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, founder and chair of the Institute for Government and the founder of Centre for Cities.

In 2007 he produced a review of the Government’s science and innovation policies, “The Race To The Top” and in May 2013 published his first book Progressive Capitalism: How to Achieve Economic Growth, Liberty and Social Justice.  His second book, Windows of Opportunity: How Nations Create Wealth, was published in February 2020.

He was elected Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in October 2011.

Andy Street
Mayor of the West Midlands

Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands in May 2017. Andy was re-elected to serve a second term as Mayor in May 2021. The primary function of the role is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and brings with it significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs.

Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career with John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government.

Starting on the John Lewis graduate scheme, Andy rose through the ranks to become Managing Director, overseeing one of the most successful periods in the company’s history.

He was the Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region. Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

Outside of work, Andy is passionate about the arts, particularly in the West Midlands, having previously served as Vice Chairman of Performances Birmingham Limited, which is responsible for running the City’s Symphony and Town Halls.

In June 2015, Andy was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy. He was named the ‘Most Admired Leader’ of the year by business magazine, Management Today in 2014. He received the ‘President’s award’ from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in for his work in the region. He holds three honorary degrees, from Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham.

Pete Gladwell
Group Social Impact and Investment Director, Legal & General

After an erstwhile life as a Youth Worker, Pete joined Legal & General in 2007, launching a new generation of property funds focused on liability matching and Defined Contributions pension schemes, and L&G’s partnerships with NEST and PGGM, which total over £5bn.  In 2015, Pete moved to lead L&G’s investments with the Public Sector - including the Cabinet Office, Combined & Local Authorities, NHS, Housing Associations and Universities - which now total over £6bn.

Pete continues to lead on public sector investments, as part of a broader remit to identify and drive strategic investments and initiatives through which L&G can use its resources to benefit society. This includes L&G’s partnership with Sir Michael Marmot to address health inequality.

Pete holds an MA from Brasenose College, Oxford in Computation, the IMC, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and Honorary Professor at University College London.

Pete is heavily involved in local community projects in Harlesden, west London and a Trustee of the Fairness Foundation, the Institute of Community Studies, and the Young Foundation, which works to create a more equal and just society through social innovation.

Henrietta Brealey
Chief Executive, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Henrietta is CEO of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. The GBCC is a not for profit business membership and support organisation that exists to Connect, Support & Grow local businesses.

Prior to becoming CEO in 2021, Henrietta was Director of Policy & Strategic Relationships leading the GBCC’s research, policy, stakeholder engagement and campaigns activity as well as management of the GBCC’s top tier of membership: the Patronage group. Henrietta was appointed to the role in 2015. In 2018 she was appointed to the GBCC Board as an executive director.

In 2019 she was named as one of Birmingham Live’s Brum 30 Under 30. In 2021 she was awarded an honorary fellowship by University College Birmingham for services to Birmingham. Outside of work, she is a Trustee of the University of Birmingham’s Guild of Students and a graduate and supporter of the UpRising Leadership Programme.

Dr Pam Waddell
Director, West Midlands Innovation Alliance

Dr Pam Waddell is the founding Director of the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands (IAWM), a regional partnership working to stimulate science and technology-based innovation to improve prosperity and wellbeing across the West Midlands. IAWM’s objectives are to build a vibrant innovation ecosystem for the West Midlands and to catalyse collaborative activity focused on demand-led innovation. 

Pam is a recognised authority in the role of innovation as a driver for economic growth and improved public services, with extensive experience of leading, building and supporting strong innovation networks across diverse sectors and types of institution, and in partnership and project building, including winning major project funds. She has led strategy and operation plans for delivery, both in her current role and from her 16 years in the Research Support team at the University of Birmingham. Pam was one of the architects of the West Midlands Innovation Programme on which IAWM works closely with the WM Combined Authority.

Professor Simon Green
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Aston University and Chair of Midlands Innovation

Professor Simon Green is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Aston University. He is responsible for the University’s strategy around impactful, collaborative, excellent and sustainable research, and is the current Chair of the Executive Management Group of Midlands Innovation, which brings together Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick Universities. 

He was educated at the Universities of Manchester, Heidelberg and Birmingham and has held academic appointments at the Universities of Portsmouth (1997-2000) and Birmingham (2000-8), where he was also Deputy Director of the Institute for German Studies. He joined Aston as Professor of Politics in 2008 and subsequently served as Head of Politics and International Relations (2009-11), Deputy Dean (2011-13) and Executive Dean (2013-18) of the School of Languages and Social Sciences.

His research background lies in European politics, especially in comparative immigration, integration and citizenship policy, as well as in German political structures and party politics. His recent research projects have included the changing nature of Christian Democracy in Germany and comparing migration policies in the UK and Germany. He is the co-author (together with Dan Hough and Alister Miskimmon) of The Politics of the New Germany (Routledge, second edition 2014).

Professor Green has served as a member of the Area Studies Sub-Panel for both REF 2014 and REF 2021. From 2009-11, he was Chair of the International Association for the Study of German Politics (IASGP) and in 2011, he was elected as Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences. Alongside his academic activities, Professor Green is actively engaged in British-German relations and is an independent Council member for Aberystwyth University.

Andrew Carter
Chief Executive,
Centre for Cities

Andrew is the Chief Executive of the Centre and before that he was the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy and Research.

Andrew has over 20 years of experience working on urban economic policy working for public and private development agencies, consultants and research institutes.  He has also spent time in the US as part of the Churchill Foundation’s Fellowship Programme reviewing urban economic development policy and practice in American cities including New York, Washington DC, Boston and Chicago.

He is a regular media contributor and chairs and speaks at conferences across the UK and Europe on a wide range of urban and economic issues.

Anthony Breach
Senior Analyst,
Centre for Cities

Anthony works as part of the research team at Centre for Cities, where he focuses on housing and planning.

Anthony won the Thinkhouse Early Career Researcher Prize 2019 for Capital cities: How the planning system creates housing shortages and drives wealth inequality. 

He has also worked on research on commercial property in cities, services exports, productivity, and manufacturing. He also has a particular interest in lessons for UK cities from Japan and the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Anthony joined the Centre for Cities in April 2017. Before this he worked at the Fawcett Society as a Research Officer. Anthony has an MSc in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford and a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Oxford.

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Additional Resources

Centre for Cities is the leading think tank dedicated to improving the economies of the UK's largest cities and towns. Go online to explore our extensive body of work on levelling up and innovation.

The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) works to connect, support and grow local businesses.

The Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands is an alliance of organisations active or interested in science and technology-based innovation across the West Midlands. It has the two principle objectives of; building and maintaining a thriving innovation ecosystem and stimulating and catalyzing a pipeline of innovation activity.

Midlands Innovation is a strategic research and innovation partnership pooling the collective excellence of eight universities in the Midlands to power UK economic growth.

West Midlands Combined Authority looks to build a better connected, more prosperous, fairer, greener and healthier West Midlands.

Millennium Point is a landmark public building and multi-award-winning conference and events venue in the east side of Birmingham city centre.
They’re owned by Millennium Point Charitable Trust with profits from their commercial activity being invested in projects, events and initiatives which support the growth of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) in Birmingham and the wider region.