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Infrastructure blog

Labour Party conference: big plug for northern connectivity

28 September 2017
There was a fresh sense of optimism around the Northern Powerhouse at the recent Labour Party conference - and encouraging to see that it’s firmly back on the political agenda.
Labour Party conference: big plug for northern connectivity

This optimism gives impetus to the need to get on with the job of improving infrastructure provision for people and businesses across the north.

In conversation with key party and industry stakeholders at the Labour Party conference in Brighton the ICE policy team felt an obvious consensus on the importance of a strategic and joined up approach to infrastructure.

This is particularly important as two of the new northern metro Mayors – for Manchester and Liverpool – are Labour.

Following the recent publication of our Delivering A Northern Infrastructure Strategy report the conference provided a timely opportunity for ICE to set out its approach on moving the Northern Powerhouse initiative forward from concept to reality, while suggesting clear routes for cooperation throughout the region. We will be really pushing this over the coming months.

Our contributions at fringe events and roundtable meetings focused on outlining three core messages:

  • A joined up approach to spatial planning and infrastructure development will increase productivity levels across the northern economy.
  • Better integration and connectivity of the north's transport network will deliver the agglomeration necessary to drive economic growth.
  • Speaking with a single voice to highlight the many opportunities that exist in infrastructure investment in the north will yield the greatest results.

To press home the recommendations contained in our Northern Infrastructure report we are already reaching out to key government stakeholders and industry figures from across the north. This includes the metro Mayors, Transport for the North, businesses and research organisations.

Through participation in public consultations and a tailored programme of engagement events we will also be putting forward our priorities to decision-makers in Westminster and developing the many new relationships we made at the Labour conference this week.

ICE will also be at next week’s Conservative Party conference in Manchester where we will again be participating in a number of fringe events and roundtable meetings.

This includes a speech by ICE Director General Nick Baveystock at the New Statesman’s Northern Powerhouse reception on the first day of the conference on Sunday.

Nick's speech will reiterate the solutions that ICE believes are necessary to enhance infrastructure planning and delivery across the north – improving the quality of life for everyone who lives and works in the region.

  • Ben Goodwin, lead policy manager at ICE