Northern Powerhouse gets national spotlight with the return of the Great Northern Conference

The next steps for realising the potential of Britain’s Northern Powerhouse are to be discussed in detail at a major event this March.

By Mark Casci
Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 5:30 am

The Great Northern Conference is to return for the second year in a row and helps to establish how best to grow its £329bn economy and build a greener, fairer and more equal society post-Brexit.

The event will be held on Thursday, March 19 at the Cutlers’ Hall, Sheffield, and is expected to attract senior Government ministers as well as a raft of the North’s most prominent business leaders.

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John Sentamu at last year's event - picture by Tony Johnson

Key speakers include Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, and Roger Hough, chairman of Peel Airports Group, which includes Doncaster Sheffield Airport.It is organised by JPIMedia – parent company of The Yorkshire Post – and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

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Topics for discussion include education, manufacturing, digital connectivity, health, energy, skills, trading and investment and metro mayors.

The future of HS2 will also come under the spotlight in a keynote debate on connectivity.

Lord O'Neill at last year's event - picture by Tony Johnson

A recent review of the high-speed rail raised concerns over costs and reignited the debate about its future alarming many in the North who view it as vital to the region’s prosperity.James Mitchinson, editor of The Yorkshire Post, said: “The North of England is at a critical juncture: plans to hand increased powers and investment to the region have long been mooted as measures that will ensure the country as a whole can realise its maximum potential.

“Last year's successful inaugural Great Northern Conference was born out of this vision, its ambition widely supported by business leaders across the North.

The subsequent Power up the North campaign, spearheaded by The Yorkshire Post and almost 40 other news brands, catapulted regional inequalities up the Government agenda like never before.

“This year's conference will therefore be a high-profile opportunity to put these matters to senior Government figures with the expectation that detailed plans will be forthcoming.

The Cutlers' Hall in Sheffield - the venue for this year's event.

"The General Election saw much in the way of promises made to the North. Now is the time for those promises to be properly articulated; properly scrutinised and properly delivered."

Last year’s event took place at Leeds’s The Dock venue and attracted more than 350 people.

The keynote address came from the Archbishop of York John Sentamu who issued an impassioned plea for devolution to be delivered to Yorkshire.

The Northern Powerhouse is home to 15.3m people and 1.1m businesses.

This year's sponsors.

Last year, the event heard from leading economist Lord Jim O’Neill, who together with the then Chancellor George Osborne, came up with the Northern Powerhouse idea.

The GNC in 2020 is sponsored by the NPP, Sellafield, Talk Talk, Arcadis, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the Northern Health Science Alliance and Northern Gas and Power.

For more information and to register for delegate tickets visit

Northern Powerhouse Rail will be among the matters under discussion.