Realising Regional Growth

What next for Greater Manchester?

The first in a series of regional events hosted by Centre for Cities

Event Programme


12.15 - 1.15
Arrival and Lunch

1.15 - 1.20
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities

1.20 - 1.40
Keynote Address
Lord Sainsbury of Turville
In recent decades, UK industry has been impacted by fierce competition from the fast-growing developing countries.  As a result, many of our great Northern cities have struggled to grow their economies and the North-South divide has widened. In this session, Lord Sainsbury of Turville outlines why many great cities in the North have struggled to grow during this time and what more can be done to ensure they achieve a faster rate of growth in the future.

1.40 - 1.50
Presentation: Realising Regional Growth: Greater Manchester's Renaissance
Anthony Breach, Centre for Cities

1.50 - 2.40
Panel Session: Why is innovation the key to levelling up Greater Manchester?
Chris Fletcher, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce; Jessica Bowles, Bruntwood; John Holden, University of Manchester; Lou Cordwell, Greater Manchester LEP
Chaired by Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities
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 Greater Manchester, 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 Greater Manchester in terms of spurring innovation.
2.45 - 3.15
In Conversation with Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
Chaired by Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities
The Levelling Up White Paper announced that Greater Manchester 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 the Mayor of Greater Manchester, this session will explore how the levelling up policy agenda can build upon existing success to support further economic growth in Greater Manchester, and what more the city region needs from central Government in order to realise this potential.  

3.20 - 3.30
Keynote Address
The Rt Hon Gordon Brown
Few doubt that we urgently need a revival of our regional economies, one that is built on innovation, skills and investment for the future. Our ambitions should be both bold and credible: 100,000 new jobs in the Greater Manchester Region alone and £10bn of extra growth worth £7,000 a year extra income for every family. Former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown will set out how he thinks this can be done.

3.30 - 4.00
Panel Session: What next for Greater Manchester?
Lord Sainsbury of Turville; Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
Chaired by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown
Reflecting on the day’s discussions, this final session will explore how Greater Manchester 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.

Opportunity for networking and refreshments

Meet Today's 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 appointed Minister of Science and Innovation from July 1998 until November 2006.

He is the founder of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and founded and chairs the Institute for Government.

In 2007 he produced a review of the Government’s science and innovation policies, “The Race To The Top” and in May 2013 published “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.

The Rt Hon Gordon Brown
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 2007 - 2010

Gordon Brown served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010, Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997 to 2007 and as a Member of Parliament in his home county of Fife, Scotland, from 1983 to 2015. 

He is the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and is a passionate advocate for the rights of children and believes every girl and boy deserves the opportunity of an education, learning and skills for the future. Since September 2021 he also serves as WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing. 

Gordon is Chair of the High-Level Steering Group of Education Cannot Wait, the education in emergencies fund; Chair of the Inquiry on Protecting Children in Conflict; and serves as Chair of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.

Gordon is the author of several books including Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalisation and My Life, Our Times and most recently Seven Ways to Change the World (Simon & Schuster, June 2021).

Andy Burnham
Mayor of Greater Manchester

Andy Burnham was first elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester in May 2017 and was re-elected for a second term in May 2021.

Responsible for shaping the future of Greater Manchester, Andy’s priorities include building a London-style integrated transport system, ending rough sleeping, transforming Greater Manchester into one of the greenest city regions in Europe and making Greater Manchester a great place to grow up, get on, and grow old.

Before being elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy was MP for Leigh from 2001. In government, Andy has held Ministerial positions at the Home Office, Department of Health and the Treasury. In 2008 he became Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, before returning to Health as Secretary of State in 2009.

In opposition, Andy has served as Shadow Education Secretary, Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary.

Andy lives in Leigh, Greater Manchester, with his wife and three children.

Chris Fletcher
Director of Policy and Campaigns,
Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Chris is Policy Director at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. He is responsible for leading the Chamber’s policy work and campaign engagement with Chamber members, the wider GM business community and representing their views to key local bodies, organisations and decision makers. His team run the Chamber’s research and survey work including the influential Quarterly Economic Survey and are responsible for publishing the Greater Manchester Index. He is also a trained media spokesperson and in his 18 years at the Chamber has been involved in several national pieces of policy work with British Chambers of Commerce.

Prior to joining the Chamber he spent two successful years at business education charity Young Enterprise after spending 16 years at NatWest in a variety of roles including a range of business manager positions focusing on start-ups and early stage developing growth businesses.

He has sat on and chaired a number of groups for a variety of organisations both public and private sector and has a real interest in how policy work affects economic regeneration, transport and innovation.

Jessica Bowles
Director of Strategic Partnerships and Impact,

Jessica joined Bruntwood in 2016 helping to support the company’s ambitions for long term growth. As a member of the Group Board her focus is particularly on the businesses external relationships with city partners and Bruntwood’s ESG and social value agenda.

Previously Jessica spent 15 years in Whitehall before moving to Manchester City Council as head of City Policy supporting work on devolution, the Northern Powerhouse and the ‘Our Manchester partnership Strategy.

Amongst other external roles Jessica is a member of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership ExCo, NWBLT, GM’s Cycling and Walking Board and is a Trustee for a start-up orchestra Manchester Baroque.

John Holden
Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects,
University of Manchester

John is Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects at the University of Manchester, with responsibility for developing new partnerships with public, private, and charitable organisations to attract national and international activities to the University and city region. John’s role includes working to expand the University’s R&D activity across the region.

Prior to joining the University in 2020, John spent over 15 years working in economic and social policy in Greater Manchester, most recently leading the Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review and developing one of the UK's first local industrial strategies.

His work experience includes working as an advisor on regional economic development to the UK’s Department for Business Innovation & Skills, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the European Commission. He is an active member of the UK’s national Productivity Institute and has recently published research on the productivity challenges facing the North West of England.

Lou Cordwell OBE
Chief Creative Officer of Fluxx and magneticNorth, and Chair of Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership

Lou is the Founder of Manchester-based digital design studio, magneticNorth (mN). Founded in 2000, the company quickly established an international reputation with an award-winning client portfolio. Today, the studio continues to work with a wide range of companies and sectors helping them to meet and shape evolving audience needs by putting digital at the heart of their businesses. 

In 2021, mN joined forces with Fluxx, London’s leading innovation consultancy to create an independently owned innovation powerhouse, where Lou continues to be involved as Chief Creative Officer.

Alongside the day job, Lou is Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP) – the organisation which brings together private and public sectors to support business growth, develop local skills and innovation, direct investment and reform public services.

She is also a founding investor in AllBright and a passionate campaigner for female founders and gender equality in the creative and digital sector. Lou was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours for services to the creative and digital economy.

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.

Additional Resources

The Science and Industry Museum plays cultural, green and STEM leadership roles within Greater Manchester. It works closely with the GMCA to help make Greater Manchester a world-leading city for STEM and to improve life chances, providing the STEM Ambassador Hub programme for the Greater Manchester region which delivers vital social benefit.