Finding True North is the next step forward for the Northern Powerhouse agenda placing identity, culture, collaboration, and innovation at its heart.
The Government’s Northern Powerhouse concept has unlocked the door to prosperity outside of the South-East, and given the keys to regional leaders. A key test of this political move’s success will be how it translates into real change for the people who live there. Progress can not be judged solely on higher living standards or the number of jobs created. We must ensure that greater freedoms for citizens aren’t just economic, but instead that this once in a generation opportunity enables communities to rebuild and society to improve.
Successful cities and regions are also powerhouses for new ideas, technological innovation and cultural creativity. Finding True North will foster debate as to how we re-awaken and nurture these capacities in our northern cities. We’ll be exploring whether there is an underpinning sense of identity and connection around which the North can build not only economic prosperity, but forge a cultural and intellectual renaissance.
The North of the United Kingdom – Northern England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – is filled with tremendous potential, backed by a rich history of cultural diversity and intellectual curiosity. When taken together, the region is home to a number of clear and powerful identities. Newly devolved powers should enable leaders to make use of these distinct identities, defining a local region’s priorities and needs, and fostering the pride that will rejuvenate rather than deter.
Each corner of the North has a proud history of creativity, entrepreneurship, independence and industry. Enabling collaboration between its businesses, sectors, communities and public services, and fostering constructive and positive dialogue between newly invigorated and empowered local leaders and those who they are elected to serve.
Northern cities are, by and large, embracing the opportunities extended to them to in the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill. There is widespread agreement that ‘city deals’ will enable regeneration and improvement, attracting inward investment necessary for creating a successful future for all its 22 million inhabitants. Without greater effort to collaborate and foster unity, the region would be unable to escape historic under-performance of its economy and the Government’s ambition for a Northern Powerhouse will be left unfulfilled.
ResPublica’s trail-blazing report Devo Max – Devo Manc spearheaded the debate about city devolution, arguing that Northern cities and regions developing broader autonomy would be a pre-condition for renewal. Finding True North will platform this discussion as the North embarks on an exciting age of opportunity.
- The Northern Cultural Renaissance
- Beyond the Powerhouse
- Spreading prosperity across the North
Rt Hon Greg Clark MP
Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government (confirmed)
Film & Theatre Director (confirmed)
Sir Richard Leese
Manchester City Council (confirmed)
Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP
Secretary of State for Health (confirmed)
Radio DJ and TV presenter
Man Booker Prize-winning author and journalist
Rt Hon George Osborne MP
Chancellor to the Exchequer
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse
Commercial Secretary to the Treasury
Simon Armitage CBE
Poet, playwright and novelist
Vice President & Founding Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program
Anne Marie O’Donnell
Glasgow City Council
Mayor of Liverpool
Newcastle North Labour MP
Internationally acclaimed dramatist
Leader, West Yorkshire Combined Authority
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