Realising Regional Growth

What next for West Yorkshire?

The second in a series of regional events hosted by Centre for Cities
Thursday 9 June 2022

Event programme


12.00 - 1.00
Arrival and Lunch

1.00 - 1.05
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities

1.05 - 1.25
Keynote Address
Lord Sainsbury of Turville, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, 1998 - 2006
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.

1.25 - 1.35
Presentation: West Yorkshire's renaissance
Anthony Breach, Centre for Cities

1.35 - 2.15
In Conversation with Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire
This session will explore how the levelling up policy agenda can build upon existing success to support further economic growth in West Yorkshire, and what more the city region needs from central Government in order to realise this potential. The Mayor will set out her priorities for boosting innovation and high value activity in West Yorkshire, and how she envisions the West Yorkshire Innovation Network and West Yorkshire Manufacturing Task Force to drive growth in the region.

2.15 - 2.45
Refreshment break

2.45 - 3.25
Panel Session: Why is innovation the key to levelling up West Yorkshire?
Shirley Congdon, University of Bradford; Andrew Greenwood, Leeds Building Society; Zandra Moore, Panintelligence; James Mason, West and North Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce
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 West Yorkshire, 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 West Yorkshire in terms of spurring innovation.
3.25 - 3.45
Keynote Address and Q&A
Sinéad Rocks, Channel 4
For decades, creative industries have played a significant role in driving economic growth in the UK. Sinéad Rocks, Managing Director for Nations and Regions at Channel 4, will set out how the television network’s strategy to increase spend on creative content in the regions has contributed to driving growth across West Yorkshire, and explains what additional support is needed from Government to create the environment that creative industries need to continue to flourish in the future.

3.45 - 4.15
Panel Session: What next for West Yorkshire's cities?
Tom Riordan, Leeds City Council and Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council
The productivity of West Yorkshire’s cities is integral to driving economic growth across the region, generating opportunities and prosperity for the people who live, work and play here. In this session, Tom and Susan will discuss the policies and support that their local authorities are looking for from national Government in order to enable them to help continue to drive the success of the region, and set out their priorities for the next steps in the evolution of Leeds and Bradford.

4.15 - 4.30
Reflections of the Day and Advice for the Government
Lord Sainsbury of Turville, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, 1998 - 2006

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.

Tracy Brabin
Mayor of West Yorkshire

Tracy Brabin is a British Labour and Co-operative politician who was elected as the first Mayor of West Yorkshire, and the first ever woman Metro Mayor in England, in May 2021.

During her campaign, Tracy pledged to create 1,000 skilled jobs for young people, lead a ‘Creative New Deal’ for the region, bring buses back under public control, tackle the climate emergency and build 5,000 affordable and sustainable homes.

As Mayor, Tracy also inherits the roles and responsibilities of the former Police and Crime Commissioner. Her priorities for policing include to recruit more frontline officers and staff and to prioritise the safety of women and girls.

Prior to her election as Mayor, Tracy was the Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen from 2016 until 2021. As MP, she held appointments as Shadow Early Years Minister, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Shadow Minister for Cultural Industries.

Moreover, Tracy is a former member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee and a former chair of the Gaps in Support All-Party Parliamentary Group, having led the campaign on behalf of the three million people excluded from Government financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Born in Batley, Tracy was an actor and screenwriter prior to entering politics, appearing in several British soap operas and writing for several television series. Tracy now lives in Kirklees, West Yorkshire. She has a husband and two daughters, all of whom work in the creative industries.

Sinéad Rocks
Managing Director for Nations and Regions, Channel 4

Sinéad Rocks is Channel 4’s Managing Director for Nations and Regions and is the lead executive at the broadcaster’s new National HQ in Leeds. She leads delivery of our 4 All the UK strategy and oversees 4Skills; C4’s extensive training commitments aimed at broadening access to the broadcasting industry across the UK and strengthening the production sector outside of London.

Prior to joining Channel 4, Sinéad was the BBC’s Director of Education, responsible for a range of content across TV, radio and online and she also played a key role in the BBC’s move to Salford – migrating the BBC’s Learning department to the North West site. She started her career as a journalist at BBC Northern Ireland and is a former editor of Newsround as well as an Executive Producer for BBC Current Affairs. 

Shirley Congdon
Vice Chancellor, University of Bradford
Member of Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Having lived and worked in the Bradford City Region for ten years she is committed to positioning the University at the centre of the region’s social and economic regeneration by harnessing the University’s strengths in research, innovation, teaching and partnerships and creating a values-led culture that is inclusive and effective in enriching lives and benefitting society.

As Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shirley Congdon is responsible for the University of Bradford’s leadership and management, including the development and delivery of its values and strategic ambitions. She is the University’s eighth Vice-Chancellor and the first women to hold the role.

Originally qualifying as a Registered Nurse, Shirley’s professional and academic expertise lies within the area of health and social care, service modernisation and cultural change, research methods and evidence-based practice. She has an outstanding record in all aspects of university leadership, having worked within the field of higher education for 25 years and held senior roles in three different universities.

Shirley is a passionate advocate for equality and diversity, social inclusion and widening participation in higher education - opening opportunities and unlocking potential for people of all backgrounds. She is a tireless ambassador for students and is committed to ensuring they receive the education, experience, and support they need to reach their potential and move into their chosen career or further study after graduating.

She is working to increase the University’s already strong impact, on driving lasting social and economic change, locally and globally.  One of the hall marks of her success is the adoption of an approach to equality, diversity and inclusion that focuses on structural inequalities. A focus on structural inequalities centres on putting in place institutional strategies and delivery plans that deliver whole system, intersectional solutions that achieve long-term impacts and foster diversity maturity across the university and its partners. 

Andrew Greenwood
Deputy Chief Executive Officer,
Leeds Building Society

Andrew started his career as a Solicitor in private practice and has worked for the Society since 1998 in a variety of legal, compliance and risk focused roles.  Having developed extensive experience of working in a highly regulated environment, Andrew leads the Risk function, which comprises a number of specialist teams.

Andrew is responsible for the overall management of the Society’s risk control framework, which includes coordinating and managing principal risks and risk appetite.  He reports directly to the Board Risk Committee and attends all the Society’s management risk committees.

From the start of 2020, Andrew also took on responsibility for our Human Resources, Learning and Development and Property and Business Services functions.

Zandra Moore,
CEO and co-founder, Panintelligence

Panintelligence is a leading business intelligence and analytics software developer. Their CEO and joint-founder Zandra Moore has over 20 years’ experience of working in the technology sector, and her passion for enabling businesses to drive performance through data insights and analytics is highly infectious.

Prior to working for Panintelligence, Zandra ran her own software solutions consultancy business and has founded a range of local B2B networking organisations, including LeanIn Leeds – a network of over 800 professional women, holding regular monthly events. She is particularly proactive in promoting Northern tech and women in tech and regularly gives talks and participates in panel discussions aimed at furthering these causes (eg. speaking for FinTech North at events across the Northern Powerhouse).

Zandra is on a mission to make the industry accessible for everyone. In a sector that continues to suffer a gender imbalance, inclusivity is at the core of Panintelligence, from gender to disability. Its aim is to make sure everyone enjoys the same opportunities. In 2018 Zandra was recognised as the female CEO of the Year in the English Women’s Awards, North.

James Mason
Chief Executive,
West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

James Mason is the current Chief Executive of the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. As a businessman in his own right, James (44), joined the Chamber in May 2022 after holding a number of high profile roles throughout his career to date. Most recently as Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the regional tourism body and as Chief Operating officer / Chief Executive at Bradford City and Rochdale Football clubs, as well as a period working as a sports agent.

James studied Journalism at University and as a qualified journalist, James worked for many years as a news and sports reporter with the BBC. He was also the founding director of a manufacturing business he had an involvement in running for over 15 years and outside of his professional career is the founder of two not for profit dementia cafes in West Yorkshire.

Tom Riordan
Chief Executive of Leeds City Council

Tom has been Chief Executive of the council since 2010 helping to attract £6 billion of investment to Leeds, including the first direct Arena, a transformed retail core and low carbon district heating. Tom was instrumental in securing a range of successes to the city, notably the Channel 4 headquarters, the UK Infrastructure Bank, the Bank of England’s northern hub, Burberry and numerous technology firms, and world leading sporting events such as the Tour de France and World Triathlon.

Tom’s top priority is for Leeds’ growth to be inclusive, championing mental health and diversity causes in the city. Tom is a trustee on the Centre for Cities Board and is the Council's mental health champion. He chairs the UK Core Cities chief executives forum and has held various roles promoting local and central government engagement, including devising the local COVID contain framework during the pandemic. 

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe
Leader of Bradford Council

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe was elected Leader of Bradford Council in May 2016. She was also Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority from 2017 until 2021 and was instrumental in securing the West Yorkshire Mayoral Devolution Deal, which resulted in West Yorkshire electing its first Metro Mayor in May 2021, Tracy Brabin. She is now Chair of West Yorkshire Transport Committee.  Prior to becoming Leader, Susan was the Portfolio Holder for Employment, Skills and Culture and has had a passion for culture-led regeneration ever since.

 Before politics Susan had a wide ranging career, from running her own business, to working in marketing and spending five years in a management role at a national newspaper. She also worked for Business in the Community for 10 years where she was Head of Regeneration.

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.

Post-event survey

Thank you for attending Realising Regional Growth: What next for West Yorkshire?
Please help us improve future Centre for Cities events by sharing your feedback in this short survey.

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 third and final event in our Realising Regional Growth series will take place in Birmingham on Thursday 30 June and explore what levelling up means for the West Midlands.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority brings together local councils and businesses to build a strong, successful economy where everyone can build great businesses, careers and lives.

The West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce exists to support business. Its mission is to be recognised as an essential part of growing businesses by sharing opportunities, knowledge and expertise, with a strong business voice influencing decision makers at all levels. 

Leeds City Region LEP works with partners across the public and private sectors with the goal of stimulating growth to unlock the Leeds City Region’s vast economic potential.

The royal armouries and new dock hall is the largest dedicated conference, events and exhibition space in Leeds.
The venue offers world-class facilities for high-profile conferences, conventions, exhibitions, awards dinners and corporate events for up to 2,500 delegates, hosting more than 380 national and international events every year.