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Northern Research Group Conference 2023: Levelling Up

northern research group

The Northern Research Group (NRG) is holding its second conference today, in Doncaster. The conference is aimed at providing an opportunity for people to shape the Conservative Party’s election offer to the North. This will be established within a Northern Manifesto – policy ideas to boost the region.

Ministers, MPs, Northern Businesses, Charities, Members, and other important stakeholders will be present to work on ideas, to discuss the issues that really matter to the North, and to build upon the work that has been done by the NRG to date.

What is the Northern Research Group?

The NRG was founded by numerous Conservative MPs who represent constituents in the North of England and Wales. It was established in 2019 for the purpose of pressuring the Government to increase investment in the North. The group’s slogan is “Stronger North, Stronger Britain”.

Their aims concern levelling up the country by tackling regional and local inequalities that hold back communities and encourage private sector investment in the North. The group strives for a fairer deal for all regions in the UK which will also unite the country.

They claim that with the 2019 election changed the face of the British political landscape as it destroyed the ‘red wall’ cohort in the North of England as Boris Johnson gained the Conservatives their largest majority since Margaret Thatcher.

The agenda

The conference began with a plenary panel titled ‘Stronger North – Stronger Britain’ and throughout the day, sessions will take place on numerous issues such as: healthcare, devolution, the economy, education, energy, environment, innovation, public services, transport and defence.

Numerous MPs are attending – notable ones include Gorge Osborne, Graham Robb, John Stevenson Katherine Fletcher, Ben Houchen and Chris green.

In particular, as George Osborne’s vision of the Northern Powerhouse was given a political boost in the rebranded ‘levelling up’ agenda, the Northern Research Group claims it is coming together to represent the interests of people across the North to ensure their voices are heard. Earlier this week, NRG chair, John Stevenson MP for Carlisle called for “Northern Powerhouse 2.0” – driving up the North’s productivity and economic output in line with the rest of the country.

Final thought

The NRG represents a space where MPs can come together to push for more policies centred on improving the North. From improving public transport access, to education and healthcare, attendees and speakers are calling for the levelling up of the North.

Curia’s Levelling Up Commission

Curia is holding the Levelling Up Commission this year, seeking to implement the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper and find pragmatic solutions to regional disparities across the UK.

Through roundtable meetings with MPs and senior leaders of local and regional government from across the UK, quantitative data analysis and regional sprints, the Commission intends to set out a series of recommendations to consider how regional inequalities can be reduced from the perspective of public services in four key areas:

  • Health and Social Care
  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Education, Skills and Training
  • Crime, Justice and Rehabilitation

To hear thought leaders discuss levelling up in health and social care, signup to the Commission first inquiry session here.

If you are interested in working with the Levelling Up Commission, please reach out to our policy lead Shivani Sen at shivani.sen@chamberuk.com

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