Regional Development in the Age of Levelling Up 2023

  • Birmingham
  • Free to attend

Presented by:

Why attend?

The New Statesman’s annual Regional Development Conference was a day of fascinating insights and discussions centred around the most pressing questions for the future of the levelling up strategy and local growth. We met on Thursday 12th May 2022 in Birmingham (Hilton Birmingham Metropole, B40 1PP), home of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, to hear insights from leaders in policymaking and industry on what’s next for regional development. 

With the establishment of the new Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the levelling up agenda is truly at the heart of UK policymaking. Through panels, live interviews, speeches and debates, leading parliamentarians, local government representatives and industry figures explored policy areas ranging from social mobility and skills challenges to local government, transport and investment.  

Key Topics

  • What does levelling up mean for local government and devolution?
  • How can levelling up tackle inequalities?
  • How can we level up UK homes?
  • How can the energy industry create jobs and promote regional growth?
  • Solving the productivity problem.

Regional Development in the Age of Levelling up 2021 attendees included


This is a CPD certified event, allowing you to earn CPD points if you attend. CPD is the holistic commitment of professionals towards enhancement of personal skills and proficiency throughout their careers.


All event times are in your local timezone

  • Thu May 11th


Select a speaker to learn more

Andy Burnham
Mayor of Greater Manchester

Andy Burnham was first elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester in May 2017 and was re-elected for a second term in May 2021.

Responsible for shaping the future of Greater Manchester, Andy’s priorities include building a London-style integrated transport system, ending rough sleeping, transforming Greater Manchester into one of the greenest city regions in Europe and making Greater Manchester a great place to grow up, get on, and grow old.

Before being elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy was MP for Leigh from 2001. In government, Andy has held Ministerial positions at the Home Office, Department of Health and the Treasury. In 2008 he became Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, before returning to Health as Secretary of State in 2009.

In opposition, Andy has served as Shadow Education Secretary, Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary.

Andy lives in Leigh, Greater Manchester, with his wife and three children.

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Dr Sam Bruce*
Head of Housing and Communities at the Centre for Social Justice *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Dr. Samuel Bruce is Head of Housing and Communities at the Centre for Social Justice where he has worked on local community and housing policy since 2020. He holds a DPhil (PhD) and MPhil in political philosophy from the University of Oxford, where he taught undergraduate students at several colleges and gained management consultancy experience. Prior to this, he completed a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences at University College Maastricht and the University of California, Berkeley. Having been a charity Trustee for over 10 years, he has a passion for the charity, voluntary, and community sectors. His policy background includes research internships with several Conservative, Labour, and Crossbench MPs and Peers, and in international development projects in East Africa.

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Professor Kate Pickett*
Professor of Epidemiology at the University of York *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Kate is Professor of Epidemiology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Future Health at the University of York. She is a Fellow of the RSA, the UK Faculty of Public Health and the Academy of Social Sciences. She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of the worldwide best-selling The Spirit Level (2009) and The Inner Level (2018). Kate is a co-founder and patron of The Equality Trust. In 2020-2021 she chaired the Greater Manchester Independent Inequalities Commission.

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Stuart Andrew MP
Minister of State for Housing
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Wera Hobhouse MP
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Climate Emergency and Energy

Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, has political experience at all levels. Born in Germany, she was a councillor in Rochdale from 2004 to 2014, where she was Cabinet Member for the Environment, Chair of the Health Scrutiny Committee and then Group Leader. She was first elected as the MP for Bath in 2017 and was re-elected in 2019 with a doubled majority.

Wera is currently the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency, Women, Justice and Equalities and Shadow Leader of the House. She is the Chair of the APPG on Adverse Childhood Experiences and the APPG on Eating Disorders. She successfully introduced what has become known as the Upskirting Bill, which is now law.

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Simon Boss
Senior Partners at Shoosmiths

Simon Boss is Shoosmiths’ former CEO and remains an active and influential senior partner at the firm. In his role as CEO, Simon combined leadership and management of the firm’s core divisions (real estate, corporate, business advisory and personal advisory) and support directorates, and focused on providing the unifying drive to take Shoosmiths into three years of exceptional financial growth for the firm.

During his leadership, Simon also balanced business with purpose, and championed Shoosmiths’ commitment to ESG with a focus on key issues such as social mobility, diversity and climate action. Examples of action during his tenure include the launch of grant-making body, The Shoosmiths Foundation; joining Justine Greening’s Levelling Up Goals; and establishing regular roundtables with clients on these topics to share best practice.

Simon has also discussed the firm’s involvement in the UN Global Compact’s Target Gender Equality Programme at their annual Business and Human Rights summit, and remains a committed member of the Business in the Community’s West Midlands Leadership Board.

Previous to his role as CEO, Simon was national head of the firm’s real estate division, which over six years saw a 120% increase in income and 130% increase in profit.

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Zoë Billingham
Director of IPPR North

Zoë Billingham is the director of IPPR North.

She leads the think tank, which is dedicated to developing bold, progressive ideas to strengthen the north of England and regions like it.

Zoë previously jointly led the Centre for Progressive Policy, advising national and local leaders on regional inequality. Prior to this, she worked as a civil servant in central government including as senior policy adviser at HM Treasury and as economic policy adviser to a deputy prime minister. Zoë has also worked in finance.

Zoë lives in Liverpool and alongside her role at IPPR North, is a crook fellow at the University of Sheffield.

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Helen Burrows*
Helen Burrows, Content and Services Policy Director at BT Group *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Helen Burrows leads the content and services policy team at BT, covering issues including digital inclusion and consumer fairness, content delivery and media policy, online safety and data. Previously she was in BT’s group strategy, policy and portfolio team covering media, copyright and human rights.

Before joining BT, Helen wrote the Creative Industries Council’s report for Government on access to finance in 2012 and was a research associate at the think tank Demos, leading projects on the creative industries. Prior to this she was Parliamentary researcher for Ed Vaizey, then an MP.

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Clive Betts MP
Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee

Clive Betts began his political career in 1973 and in 1976 was elected as a member of Sheffield City Council. He became Leader of the Council in 1987, having served on the Housing and Finance committees for several years. He remained on the Council until his election as Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield Attercliffe from 1992 until 2010. From 2010 he was the Labour MP for the renamed Sheffield South East constituency and was re-elected in May 2015 and June 2017.

Clive was appointed a Government Whip in 1997 and held the post until 2001. In June 2010 he was elected as Chair of the Department for Communities and Local Government Select Committee and has been re-elected following each General Election.

Clive has been a key member on several Select Committees (Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Department for Communities and Local Government.) His political interests include economic policy, local and regional government and housing. He was chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Arms Length Management Organisations, the All Party Football Group and was also chair of the Netherlands Group in Parliament and Joint Chair of the Somali and Somaliland APPG.

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Matt Western MP*
Chair of the APPG on Electric Vehicles and Shadow Minister for Further Education and Universities *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Matt Western is the Labour MP for Warwick and Leamington since his election on 8th June, 2017. Alongside his role as Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Matt is Chair of the APPG on Electric Vehicles and the Motor Vehicles APPG.

Prior to entering Parliament, Matt studied at the University of Bristol, before embarking on a 24-year career in the automotive industry both in the UK and Paris. He also served as a Labour Warwickshire County Councillor from 2013 to 2018.

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Andrew Gwynne MP*
Shadow Minister for Public Health *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Andrew Gwynne is the Member of Parliament for Denton and Reddish, and Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister.

Andrew has been an MP for over 17 years. In that time, he has served as Labour’s Co-National Campaign Coordinator for the 2017 and 2019 General Elections, as well as Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

A strong advocate for local Government, Andrew is passionate about tackling health inequalities.

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Laura Shoaf​
CEO of West Midlands Combined Authority

Appointed Chief Executive in November 2021 after the interim appointment made in June2021. Laura previously the MD of Transport for West Midlands, having expanded her focus to include driving inclusive economic growth; increasing skills provision; regenerating land and housing; and enhancing the environment as well as improving transport connectivity across the region.​

Laura has assumed the role at an exciting time for the West Midlands with a number of cultural events coming up that will showcase the region to the world. Working in a complex political environment, Laura has a demonstrated track record of success in leading change and will use this experience to gain more powers for the region to deliver our ‘levelling up’ agenda. ​

In 2015, Laura became Strategic Director for Transport at the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority and then in June 2016 appointed MD she was responsible for key initiatives across the metropolitan area such as Midlands Connect, the HS2 Connectivity Package and the region’s Strategic Transport Plan, liaising with Government departments and regional agencies for the benefit of the West Midlands. ​

Laura is a keen runner, cyclist and can often be found doing both on the hills and pathways where she lives. She appreciates a good beer, art and supports Wolverhampton Wanderers and the England cricket team.​

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Osama Bhutta*
Director of Campaigns, Policy and Communications at Shelter *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Glasgow-born Osama has won campaigns, persuaded audiences, influenced governments, and built growth in his work all around the world. He has previously been global director of marketing and communications at Amnesty International and Al Jazeera Media Network’s head of comms and international relations. He joined the fight for home in August 2021.

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Cllr Richard Wearmouth*
Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Richard Wearmouth is the Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council, and a cabinet member for the North of Tyne Combined Authority. His portfolio in Northumberland includes leading efforts to increase digital connectivity across what is one of England's most rural and dispersed economies. In addition, he has led on multiple projects to level up the county and the wider North of Tyne are including work to secure a £3bn inward investment by electric vehicle battery manufactures BritishVolt.

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Martin Tugwell*
Chief Executive of Transport for the North *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Martin Tugwell is responsible for transforming pan-Northern connectivity in order to improve productivity and drive economic growth.

He leads Transport for the North as England’s first Sub-national Transport Body, giving the North a strong, unified and determined voice on transport investment to benefit the region.

Martin has more than 20 years of experience in strategic transport and infrastructure planning at national, regional and local levels.

Immediately prior to joining Transport for the North, Martin was Director for England’s Economic Heartland (EEH) – one of England’s 7 Sub-national Transport Bodies. Here, he led the creation of the EEH Transport Strategy – Connecting People, Transforming Journeys. This ambitious strategy sets out how the region’s transport system can support economic growth while delivering net zero emissions by as early as 2040.

Martin is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow and past President of the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). He is a Trustee of the CIHT and past Chairman of the Transport Planning Society.

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Cllr Brigid Jones
Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council

Brigid came to the city at 18 to study at the University of Birmingham, fell in love with it and never left. She was elected the local councillor for Selly Oak Ward in May 2011 and took on the Cabinet portfolio for Children and Family Services in 2012. As Cabinet Member, she helped drive improvements in one of the country’s most challenged and scrutinised Children’s Services departments and overhauled the Education Department. In 2017, at the age of 30, she was elected as Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council.

Brigid has been active in politics since 2005 when she joined both the Labour and Cooperative Parties. Having previously worked in new energy at the University of Birmingham, been a school governor and a trustee at other educational organisations, and holding a masters degree in physics, Brigid brings her well rounded experience and values to promote Birmingham as a great urban city in which to live, learn and work.

Working in the largest metropolitan authority in England, Brigid’s agenda in her role is to harness the power of partners across Birmingham to drive the change our city needs, whilst using her extensive experience to help the wider Council’s improvement agenda.

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Clare Boden-Hatton*
Head of Employment and Skills Delivery at West Midlands Combined Authority *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Clare Boden-Hatton has over 20 years’ experience leading change in employment and skills delivery. She is responsible for the development and implementation of policy and strategy relating to the West Midlands Combined Authority priorities on skills and employment, which includes successfully delivering a the £130m devolved Adult Education Budget across the region.
Leading the development of the Regional Skills Plan, published June 2018, Clare also provides strategic oversight of the wider policy delivery and piloting of new areas of work including, Digital Skills, Construction Gateway and Connecting Communities.
Clare manages key stakeholder relationships with local partners and government departments, working collaboratively to shape and develop support for skills and employment to drive up skill levels in the West Midlands.
Clare Joined WMCA in 2018 having previously worked for the Learning and Skills Council in senior policy roles and for PWC in their public sector practice supporting a range of national and government clients. Clare also spent four years working as a Senior Leader in Further Education.

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Shaun Bailey MP*
Member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion
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Helen Dobson*
Managing Director of Citizens Online *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Helen is Managing Director of Citizens Online, a leading digital inclusion organisation. She is an experienced digital leader, beginning in 1998 working for a creative digital media start-up. She has since led digital projects for international businesses and channel shift transformation for public sector clients. She moved to work in the charitable sector in 2013 to address digital skills gaps and increase diversity in creative industries. Helen joined Citizens Online in 2017 and has overseen; digital exclusion research, digital skills and device support for people in need, digital inclusion and assisted digital strategy development for clients and refined the Citizens Online evidence based approach to improving digital inclusion in localities across the UK.

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Emily Morrison*
Head of the Institute of Community Studies *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Emily is the Head of the Institute of Community Studies, powered by The Young Foundation. Emily leads the work of the Institute in ensuring robust methods for the end to end involvement of communities in policy, research and practice around key societal phenomena including shaping a just transition to net zero; redesigning young peoples’ civic journeys and community-led transformation of place.

Previous, Emily worked at the British Council where she developed the global research portfolio, spanning internationally comparative research into youth voice and policy, education, civil society, and culture. Emily has led and conducted research in the Western Balkans, the Middle East, Latin America, South Africa and Europe and previously held professional and academic positions at University College London and King’s College London. She began working in research as a practitioner-researcher with NGOs in the UK and overseas.

Outside of The Young Foundation, Emily is currently funded by the Leverhulme Trust, undertaking research at Queen Mary, University of London into the effect of lengthy political instability on the lived experience of citizenship and social organisation.

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Josh Abey*
Senior Researcher at the Fabian Society *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Josh Abey is a Senior Researcher at the Fabian Society and leads the society’s Changing Work Centre. Earlier this year he authored Bridging the Divide, a report setting out policy proposals to tackle digital inequality. Josh previously worked for the Children’s Commissioner for England. He is chair of his local Constituency Labour Party.

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Frances O’Grady
General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress

Frances became general secretary of the TUC in January 2013, the first woman ever to hold this post.

She joined the TUC as campaigns officer in 1994, and launched the Organising Academy in 1997.

Frances headed up the TUC’s organisation department in 1999, reorganising local skills projects into unionlearn which now helps a quarter of a million workers into learning every year.

As deputy general secretary from 2003, Frances led on the environment, industrial policy, the NHS and winning an agreement covering the 2012 Olympics. She has served as a member of the Low Pay Commission, the High Pay Centre, the Resolution Foundation’s Commission on Living Standards, the Commission on Economic Justice and the government’s National Retraining Partnership. In 2019 Frances became a Non-Executive Director, Bank of England Court of Directors and in 2020 she became a Non-Executive Director for Unity Trust Bank.

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Zoe Davidson
Financial Advisory Director, Regional Growth at Deloitte

Zoe is a Deloitte Director based in the North West, but with a national role supporting clients to deliver regional projects that drive physical and economic growth. Zoe has more than twenty years of experience in project finance and advisory, having worked at a major bank delivering debt and equity to major development schemes, as well as in a public sector advisory role at KPMG for more than 15 years. Zoe has advised on financial and commercial structuring of a significant range of schemes across transport, housing, commercial development, health and broader strategic economic development, working both for public and private sector. Zoe has a strong national and regional perspective, having spent periods of her career based in London, Leeds and Manchester, and also spent two years in Sydney advising NSW government on the redevelopment of Darling Harbour.

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Clare Miller
Group Chief Executive at Clarion Housing Group

Clare was appointed as the Group Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group in 2018. A chartered accountant, with almost 30 years’ experience in the housing sector, Clare joined the Housing Corporation in 1992 as a financial regulator and over the next 18 years progressed to become its Director of Regulation.

She then became an Executive Director at the Tenant Services Authority, with responsibility for housing association regulation. In 2010 Clare joined Affinity Sutton as Group Director of Governance and Compliance. She took up the same role at Clarion in 2016, before taking on her current role two years later.

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Damian Collins MP*
Former Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Damian Collins is the Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, first elected in 2010. Prior to being a MP, Damian worked in the advertising industry, for M&C Saatchi and Lexington Communications. From 2016 to 2019, Damian chaired the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and now chairs a joint committee of members of the House of Lords and House of Commons scrutinising the Online Safety Bill. He also hosts a popular digital policy podcast, The Infotagion Podcast.

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India Bourke
Environment Correspondent at the New Statesman

India Bourke is the New Statesman's Environment Correspondent.

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Julie Elliott MP*
Chair of the APPG on Digital Skills *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Julie Elliott is the Labour Member of Parliament for Sunderland Central.

As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Digital Skills and member of the APPG for Data Poverty, Julie is committed to improving digital skills and ensuring people have better access to the world of digital.

Julie is also Chair of the Northern Powerhouse APPG, and is committed to tackling regional inequalities and highlighting the potential of the cultural and industrial strengths of the North.

Julie is also on the Panel of Chairs, and is the longest serving member on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee.

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Katie Easey*
Director of Education: Community Learning at the WEA *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Katie Easey is Director of Education: Community Learning at the WEA - the largest voluntary sector provider of adult education in England and Scotland serving 40,000 learners. In this role, Katie leads on the charity’s community learning provision, targeted at building essential skills for life and work, and developing thriving learning communities.

Katie manages all regional and branch activities, ensuring learners are provided with an outstanding learning experience that delivers the skills learners need, inspires further learning, and encourages social interaction and active citizenship. Learners are taught in small groups, in a highly personalised way by expert tutors, either in community venues less than three miles from learner’s homes, or online.

Katie previously served as CEO at CLIP (Community Learning in Partnership) and as Head of School: Health and Social Care Sciences at Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education.

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Baroness Blake of Leeds
Shadow Spokesperson for Housing, Communities and Local Government
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Dr Raghib Ali*
Senior Clinical Research Associate at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Raghib Ali is an Honorary Consultant in Acute Medicine at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Senior Clinical Research Associate at the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge; and Director of the Public Health Research Center and Associate Professor at New York University Abu Dhabi.

He graduated from Cambridge University in 2000 and has been awarded postgraduate degrees in Epidemiology and Public Health from the Universities of London, Cambridge and Oxford.

He has been involved in heath inequalities research since 2004 – as secretary of the UK Biobank ethnicity subgroup, Director of the INDOX Cancer Research Network and as Principal Investigator for the first study of cancer incidence by individual ethnic group in England.

He is also the Principal Investigator for the UAE Healthy Future Study investigating risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease and an Independent Expert Adviser to the Government’s Race Disparity Unit on COVID and ethnicity.

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Karl Edge
Midlands Regional Chair and Office Senior Partner for Birmingham at KPMG

Karl is the Midlands Regional Chair and Birmingham Office Senior Partner at KPMG UK. He has over 25 years’ experience of working with clients in the Industrial Markets, Automotive, Property, Construction and House Building sectors. Building on his audit roots, Karl has led the development of our client programme in ensuring KPMG is investing time to truly understand the needs of local businesses. As a UK Board member, Karl connects KPMG’s regional practice with London to ensure it brings the most relevant capability to help local clients succeed.

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Jordan Cummins*
Programme Director, Health at the CBI *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Jordan joined the CBI In 2014, following a role with the MoJ in HMPS. In the seven years with the CBI, Jordan has held both commercial and policy roles, including Assistant London Director and Head of Policy. In December 2021, he became the CBI’s first Health Director, leading a new team and the organisation’s engagement across DHSC, NHS, BEIS, OHID, UKHSA and HMT on industry priorities in health and life sciences. Jordan studied Law and Public Policy & Management at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, respectively. Jordan lives in South London and is active within local politics.

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Alona Ferber
Special Projects Editor at the New Statesman

Alona Ferber is Special Projects Editor at the New Statesman. She joined the
magazine from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, where she was an
editor specialising in research on extremism and counter-extremism
policy. Before that, Alona spent a decade living in Mexico and Israel. She was a
senior editor and reporter at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and worked in
cooperation programmes at the British Embassy in Mexico City. Her writing has
also appeared in publications including Spiegel Online, Newsweek, and the

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Thomas Graham*
Management Consultant at Deloitte *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Thomas is a transformation specialist with a focus on ensuring education & skills provision is sustainable and supports learners to gain the skills employers need. Before joining Deloitte he led the Career & Enterprise Company’s investment in programmes supporting young people making transitions from education to employment.

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Anna Bright*
Chief Executive of Sustainability West Midlands *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

I have worked within the environmental management sector for the past 20 years and this reflects my personal interest and passion for environmental sustainability. I started working at SWM in 2013 and have been responsible for the operations of the organisation, as well as delivering a range of programme and projects, and coordinating many of our networks.

I am on the board of the Midlands Energy Hub and the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands. I was appointed as Trustee of the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country in December 2018.

Prior to working at SWM I was consultant at the Organic Resource Agency in Worcestershire for over seven years. I was responsible for the delivery of a wide range of projects focused on the management of organic waste as a resource, via effective collection and treatment. I dealt with national clients in the public and private sector.

Previously I worked for Severn Trent Water as a key account manager working with many large clients within the West Midlands region from the chemical, textile and engineering sector. As well as managing customer accounts I worked with clients in the identification of water efficiency and monitoring solutions.

I have a post graduate diploma in Water and Environmental Management from the University of Bristol and completed my undergraduate studies in Environmental Biogeoscience at the University of Leeds.

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Adam Lent*
Chief Executive of New Local *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion
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Rachel Cunliffe
Senior Associate Editor at the New Statesman

Rachel Cunliffe is a political journalist and broadcaster and is currently Senior Associate Editor at the New Statesman. She was previously Comment and Features Editor at the London business newspaper City A.M., and before that Deputy Editor of the digital media site Reaction, which she helped to launch. She has written for The Times, The Telegraph, The Spectator, CapX and Grazia, among others. She is a regular guest reviewing the next day’s papers on television and radio including BBC News and on Sky News.

Rachel studied Classics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where she also completed her masters in Latin literature. She briefly taught Ancient Greek at a school in South Korea, and she retains a keen interest in history and the ancient world. In addition to her deep and varied expertise in domestic politics, her specialist subjects include business, societal trends, geopolitics, and inter-generational dynamics.

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Justine Greening
Chair of Levelling Up Goals and former Secretary of State for Education

Justine Greening is the founder and chair of the Purpose Coalition and the Purpose Goals. Justine is the former Secretary of State for Education (the first to attend a comprehensive school), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for International Development, Secretary of State for Transport and Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

Justine was born and brought up in Rotherham and was the Member of Parliament for Putney from 2005 to 2019.

On leaving Parliament Justine also set up the Social Mobility Pledge, which represents a commitment from 600 organisations, covering over 7 million people, to improving social mobility.

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Anneliese Dodds MP
Chair of the Labour Party

Anneliese Dodds is Chair of the Labour Party and Labour’s Policy Review, and Labour MP for Oxford East. Anneliese previously served as the first female Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in that role was the first woman to deliver the Mais Lecture in which she established Labour’s principles for post-Covid economic policy. Anneliese represented the South East from 2014 to 2017 as the Member of European Parliament. In that role, Anneliese served on the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, focusing especially on tax avoidance and rules on financial services, to help prevent any repeat of the global financial crisis. Before becoming an MEP, Anneliese worked for many years as an academic.

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Iryna Kocharova*
Head of Sustainability, Motor Finance and Leasing at Lloyds Banking Group *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Iryna heads up Product Proposition Development and Sustainability Strategy function in Motor Finance and Leasing division at Lloyds Banking Group. In 2021 Iryna joined Motor Finance and Leasing business to design and execute motor Sustainability strategy and propositions that will support our customers’ electrification journey. 2022 will see Motor Finance and Leasing business refresh and reinvigorate our purpose and strategy to take the Group forward in the coming years. Iryna’s team drives greater ambition and execution of Motor’s new proposition development and sustainability agenda. Iryna’s work is focused on the electrification strategy and policy, new products and servicing proposition development whilst maintaining our strong focus on existing products and customer needs.

Iryna was born in Ukraine and came to the UK in 2003 with her family. Iryna studied law at university and pursued a career in Finance when she joined Lloyds Banking Group graduate scheme in 2010. She started her career in customer facing roles where she learnt the importance of putting customers at the heart of everything we do as well as lead and develop people to achieve their goals and aspirations. Iryna transitioned to strategy focused roles working on a number of initiatives designed to enhance customer experience including the Group’s Sustainability strategy development to support our customers’ green transition journey. Throughout her time with Lloyds Banking Group Iryna has experienced and actively contributed to the cultural journey that we are currently on. She takes great pride in being a role model to other colleagues and greatly enjoys working with colleagues on their personal development.

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Cllr John Merry*
Deputy Leader of Salford City Council and Chair of Key Cities *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Cllr Merry is the Deputy City Mayor of Salford City Council and the Chair of Key Cities Group. Cllr Merry was elected to the position of Leader of Salford City Council in May 2003 and was awarded the CBE in 2009 for Services to Local Government. Following the election of the City’s first Directly Elected Mayor in 2012, he became the Lead Member for the Children & Young People’s portfolio and later the Skills & Work agenda.

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Emma Yeap*
Cluster Manager at West Midlands Health Technologies Cluster *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion
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Andy Street
Mayor of the West Midlands

Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands on May 4th 2017, before winning a second term on May 10th 2021. His main focuses are transport, housing, skills, and jobs, and he is currently working to a plan to get 100,000 people across his region back into work following the coronavirus pandemic.

Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career at John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles that involved working with local and national government. In total he spent more than 30 years at John Lewis, rising from trainee to managing director.

Additionally, he has been Lead Non-executive Director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

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Dave Tansley*
Vice Chair and Consulting Technology Partner at Deloitte *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Dave leads our firm wide Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Government Sector (IT&RG) within Government & Public Sector (G&PS). Dave is also a member of the Deloitte NSE Board where he chairs a number of committees. As a Chartered Engineer with over 30 years of experience, Dave has a proven track record of delivering complex, large scale digital and technology-enabled business transformations across the Public and Private sectors.

In his multiple Lead Client Service Partner roles, Dave helps public sector organisations transform their businesses and user experience through the exploitation of digital technology, new ways of working and innovative business practices. Dave is currently the Chair of the Deloitte UK & Swiss Partnership Council and is a member of the Board of Governors for the University of the West of England (UWE) and the Governance Board of the Institute of Coding (IoC).

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Daniel Rubio
Public Affairs Specialist, WWF UK

Daniel has nearly 20 years’ experience of advocacy and campaigning in the voluntary sector as well as working within central government.

At WWF he is responsible for the development and implementation of political strategy relating to climate, nature and Levelling-Up. Daniel manages key stakeholder relationships with environmental sector partners, government departments, and parliamentarians in Westminster.

Daniel joined WWF in 2016 having previously worked for the British Red Cross as Public Affairs Manager, leading the delivery of their political outreach and supporting the development of their advocacy strategies.

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Naz Shah MP*
Shadow Minister for Crime Reduction *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Naz Shah was elected as the Labour Member of Parliament for Bradford West in 2015. She retained her position in both the 2017 and 2019 elections with a large increase in her majority each time.
Naz is currently on Labour's front bench under the leadership of Keir Starmer, as Shadow Crime Prevention Minister and held the previous position of Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion. She was also the Shadow Women and Equalities Minister under the previous Labour leadership.
Naz is the vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims and is a member of several other All Party Parliamentary Groups.
She was a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee until her first Shadow Minister appointment.

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Phil Whittingham
Managing Director of Avanti West Coast

After training with KPMG in Birmingham, Phil joined Virgin Trains West Coast as Group Management Accountant in August 1999, becoming Finance Director in January 2008 and Managing Director in January 2013. In December 2019, he became the first Managing Director of Avanti West Coast.

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Steve Rotheram
Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region

Raised in Kirkby in a family of eight children, Steve left school at 16 to pursue a career as a bricklayer, starting out as an apprentice. In later years he went onto work for the Learning and Skills Council.

Steve began his political career when he was elected to serve as a councillor in 2002, representing Fazakerley ward on Liverpool City Council and held the ceremonial title of Lord Mayor of Liverpool through the city’s European Capital of Culture year in 2008.

In 2010, Steve was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Liverpool Walton constituency. While in Westminster, he led campaigns for justice for the Hillsborough families; in support of blacklisted workers; for compensation for those suffering from mesothelioma and asbestosis; and to change the law on the use of old tyres on buses and coaches.

In 2017, Steve was elected as the first ever Liverpool City Region Mayor, representing 1.6m people across the boroughs of Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and the Wirral. In his first term, he helped deliver 9,000 new jobs and 5,500 apprenticeships, set out plans for an integrated London-style transport system and set a target for the region to become net zero carbon by 2040.

On 6 May 2021, Steve was re-elected to serve a second term as Mayor with an increased majority of over 132,000 – winning almost 60% of the vote across the region. On day one of his new term in office, he delivered a £150m COVID recovery fund to create jobs and support businesses as the region emerges from the pandemic.

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Lord Deben
Chair of the Climate Change Committee

The Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, set up and now runs Sancroft, a Corporate Responsibility consultancy working with blue-chip companies around the world on environmental, social and ethical issues. Lord Deben is Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, Valpak Limited, and the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advisers Association. He was the longest serving Secretary of State for the Environment the UK has ever had (1993-97). His sixteen years of top-level ministerial experience also include Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, Minister for London, Employment Minister and Paymaster General in HM Treasury. He has consistently championed an identity between environmental concerns and business sense.

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Gillian Cooper
Head of Energy Policy at Citizens Advice

Gillian Cooper has been Head of Energy Policy at Citizens Advice since November 2018. She leads the organisation’s advocacy work as the statutory energy consumer advocate and is also responsible for its energy advice strategy. Gillian has been a consumer advocate in the energy sector for over 16 years, working in a number of watchdog organisations.

Gillian has been a consumer advocate in the energy sector for over 16 years, working in a number of watchdog organisations. Her previous role was head of energy retail markets at Citizens Advice. Before starting her advocacy career, she worked at a research agency specialising in industry and financial markets analysis.

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Sarah Longlands*
Chief Executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Sarah is an expert in regional and local economic development and argues for economic and social justice and the creation of places which enable people to live good lives. Before joining CLES in 2021, Sarah was Director of IPPR North, the dedicated think tank for the North of England. She previously worked for CLES until 2011 and began her career in local government, working in County Durham and North Yorkshire. She has a PhD in Urban Studies from the University of Glasgow.

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Adam Micklethwaite*
Director of Partnerships and Fundraising at Good Things Foundation *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Adam Micklethwaite is Director of Partnerships and Fundraising at Good Things Foundation, the UK’s leading digital inclusion charity.
Good Things Foundation helps people without internet access or digital skills to benefit from the digital world, by working with over 2,000 community-based organisations across the UK.
Partnering with major businesses such as Virgin Media O2, J.P Morgan, Google, and Mastercard, the Foundation has established the National Databank, providing free connectivity data, the National Device Bank, providing free refurbished digital devices, and runs community-based programmes that support people to gain basic digital skills.
The Foundation also works with the UK Government, delivering programmes and supporting policy development. This includes work with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Health and Social Care, and HM Revenue and Customs.
Since 2010, Good Things Foundation has supported more than 4 million people across the UK and Australia, where the charity has established a subsidiary. Their campaign to #FixTheDigitalDivide has been taken up by a wide range of organisations and influencers, including the Combined Authorities in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, local councils, and adult education services.

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Gary Cook*
Joint Head of the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Gary Cook is Joint Head of the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles working at the intersection of the transport, energy and auto sectors. Gary leads on the Government’s mission to de-carbonise UK road transport, reducing our impact on the climate, improving air quality, and supporting a thriving UK auto sector. Gary’s team set the strategy, policy and delivery frameworks to achieve this mission, including managing £2.5bn of Government investment in the transition to a net zero economy.

Gary has over 10 years’ experience in the Civil Service across five Government Departments, and five years’ experience in the private sector working in digital and data.

Gary has an MSc in Public Policy from LSE, an MSc in Information Technology for e-Commerce from the University of Sussex and a BSc in Information Systems from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

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Kim Johnson MP*
Chair of the Liverpool City Region APPG *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion
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Simon Bolton*
Interim CEO of NHS Digital *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Simon is Interim CEO of NHS Digital, the executive body of the Department of Health and Social Care which provides information, data and IT systems for health and social care nationally.

Prior to joining NHS Digital Simon was the Chief Information Officer at NHS Test & Trace, and has held a number of executive technology leadership roles at companies including CIO of Jaguar Land Rover and CIO of Rolls-Royce’s Land and Sea Division.

Simon was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council for The University of Derby in April 2019 and is also on the Board of Tech Partnership Degrees, an employer-led and not for profit organisation that unites employers and universities to improve the flow of talent into the digital workforce. Simon is also a Member of the Board of Advisors for Armis, a computer and network security company based in California.

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Hannah Webster*
Joint Head of People and Places at The RSA *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion
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Andy Ratcliffe*
Executive Director of Impact on Urban Health *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion
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Professor Jillian Anable*
Chair in Transport and Energy at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion
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Karen Creavin*
Chief Executive of The Active Wellbeing Society *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Karen is Chief Executive at The Active Wellbeing Society – a community benefit society and cooperative, based in Birmingham, working to tackle inequality and promote community wellbeing.

She is an innovative public service leader, with a reputation for disrupting, provoking and inspiring change, pushing at the boundaries of provision and always fighting for the least heard voices.

She has overseen the delivery of multi-million pound projects, operated at a senior level within Europe’s largest local authority and influenced significant system change across health, transport, sport and physical activity.

Karen understands how to shift systems and facilitate transformative change across sectors, how to speak truth to power, and how to lean in, be with and fully engage with underrepresented communities at scale.

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Bill Esterson MP
Shadow Minister for Business and Industry

Bill Esterson has been MP for Sefton Central since 2010 and is Shadow Minister for Business and Industry.

His brief covers manufacturing, construction and professional services and includes responsibilities for skills, levelling up and net zero.

Mr Esterson started and grew two businesses between 1995 and 2010 and was a local councillor before entering parliament. He graduated from Leeds University in 1990 with BSc Hons in Maths and Philosophy and trained as a chartered accountant after graduating.

He was a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Education, Housing, Communities & Local Government and Treasury Committees between 2010 and 2015, is Treasurer of the Tribune group of Labour MPs, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, vice-chair of the All Party Group for Children in Care and Care Leavers and vice chair of the All Party Group on Carbon Capture and Underground Storage.

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Cllr Emily O'Brien*
Deputy Chair of the Local Government Association’s People & Places Board *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Emily O’Brien is Deputy Chair of the Local Government Association’s People & Places Board where the Levelling Up agenda is being looked at through the lens of non-metropolitan local authorities. She is a Green Party Councillor and was Cabinet Member for Planning & Infrastructure for the Cooperative Alliance run Lewes District Council.

She is also an expert on taking a place-based approach to food, and a campaigner on food poverty and food and climate change.

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Daniel Grosvenor
Financial Advisory Partner and Head of Government & Infrastructure at Deloitte

Daniel is Head of Power, Utilities and Renewables in the UK. He has provided advice to governments, major corporates, private equity, lenders and project developers on transactions and projects throughout the power, renewable and infrastructure sector. His work has included everything from strategic advice, advising on policy development, market analysis and acquisition searches, debt and equity fundraising and M&A across the industry.

Recent projects have included: Hinkley Point C, one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the world; a focus on energy storage with more than 15 battery projects reviewed; fundraising for EnTec (energy technology) start-ups bringing innovation to the power sector; distributed energy solutions including domestic battery and solar solutions, demand response and virtual power plants. As well as the UK, Daniel has worked extensively across EMEA, Asia and the US, and is seen as an international expert in his field.

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Janet Garner
Head of HR and Academy Principal at BAE Systems

Janet was appointed Academy Principal of BAE Systems’ Submarines Academy for Skills and Knowledge in March 2018 as the company opened its new facility at Barrow-in-Furness in June 2018.

Having joined BAE Systems’ predecessor company in 1986, Janet spent many years leading and delivering HR strategies and people plans, and developing the future skills required across programmes.

She began as a trainee, was afforded the opportunity to develop into the role she now holds and sponsored to study by the business. Janet now holds a BA in Business & Economics and Masters in Employment Law both gained at UCLAN.

Born from her own experience of professional development, Janet has a real passion to provide the right environment for people to learn and shine, with the ultimate goal of inspiring people to be the best they can be.

Janet represents the business in a number of partnerships, including co-chairing the Cumbria LEP People, Employment and Skills Strategy Group, responsible for developing the Local Skills Report and is a member of the Brilliant Barrow Board, playing an integral role in the development of the Town Deal plans.

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Jonny Ball
Special Projects Writer at the New Statesman

Having taught abroad for a number of years, Jonny Ball joined the New Statesman in 2017, initially helping organise the magazine’s readers’ events, round tables, and its presence at the annual Labour, SNP, Lib Dem and Conservative Party conferences. He has since moved on to full time writing for the Spotlight supplement and The New Statesman website, focusing particularly on public policy in local government and regional development.

Based in Liverpool, Jonny is currently studying at the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity at De Montfort University, working towards a PhD on Corbynism and the contemporary left. In addition to his work for The New Statesman, he has written for Renewal and The Big Issue, and his academic work has also appeared in specialist historical society journals.

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Will Dunn
Business Editor at the New Statesman

Will Dunn is the New Statesman’s business editor. He writes about companies, markets, finance and the world of work, as well as conducting the publication’s weekly Business Interview.

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Cllr James Jamieson
Chairman of the Local Government Association

Cllr James Jamieson was first elected to Central Bedfordshire Council in 2009 and served as a Chair of Scrutiny. He was elected as Leader following the 2011 elections, standing down in January 2021. He currently represents the Westoning Ward having previously represented Flitwick.

Cllr Jamieson has lived in Bedfordshire since the mid-eighties. He is a qualified engineer with a Masters degree from Sheffield University, and worked in industry and banking for over 20 years before setting up his own consultancy providing strategic advice to companies.

He was elected Leader of the LGA Conservative Group in July 2018 and was subsequently elected as LGA Chairman in July 2019.

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Cllr Liam Robinson*
Transport Portfolio Holder at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority *Speaking at a closed-door roundtable discussion

Cllr Liam Robinson is a Liverpool City Labour Councillor, who has represented the Kensington and Fairfield Ward since 2008. He was elected Chair of Merseytravel in June 2012 and has subsequently been appointed Portfolio Holder for Transport for the Liverpool City Region by Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Combined Authority. Merseytravel is the delivery arm for transport of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
Cllr Robinson has key roles in strategic transport groups, including having been a founder Board Member of Transport for the North, Rail North and having chaired the City Regions Transport Special Interest Group.
Making public transport more affordable, particularly for young people, is a key focus for Cllr Robinson. He has championed the introduction of reduced price bus fares for young people up to their 19th birthday, which led to a 168% growth in Young Persons Journeys. He also led the procurement of a brand new fleet of publicly owned trains for the Merseyrail network including pioneering disability access features.
Cllr Robinson has spent all his career working in public transport having held management positions in the Rail, Bus and Coach Industries including having managed 3 of Britain’s largest railway stations: Liverpool Lime Street, London Liverpool Street and Sheffield.

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Alex Burghart MP
Minister for Skills

Alex is a conservative politician who has been the MP for Brentwood and Ongar since June 2017. In September 2021, he was appointed as the Minister for Skills at the Department for Education.

Since becoming an MP, Alex has served on the DWP select committee and on the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and between 2019 and 2021 as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister.

Alex worked in higher education for 6 years and is the son of two teachers. The first person in his family to go to university, he read history at Oxford before taking his doctorate at King’s College London where he taught and lectured.

He has worked previously on Munro Review of Child Protection, and as Director of Policy at the Centre for Social Justice. Between 2016 and 2017, Alex served as a Special Adviser to the then Prime Minister on social justice.

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Sponsors and Partners

2022 Strategic Partner

Shoosmiths LLP is a UK law firm with 13 locations across the United Kingdom, and 210 partners and 1400+ lawyers and business support employees. It announced a turnover of £167.9 million to end April 2021. Shoosmiths LLP was recently awarded ‘Best Operational Continuity’ and ‘Best Shared Learning with Clients’ at the Managing Partners’ Forum Awards and Legal Technology Team of the Year at the Legal Business Awards, 2021. Shoosmiths has been ranked in the top five firms for deal volume for the past five years in Experian MarketIQ’s M&A Review.

2022 Sponsors

Clarion Housing Group is the UK’s largest provider of affordable housing. We are committed to playing our part in tackling the housing crisis, both as a social landlord and developer of new housing.

More than 350,000 people call a Clarion home their home. Our mission is to provide and maintain good quality housing for our residents and to build communities through high quality design and placemaking.

We are a social business, reinvesting our profits into building new homes and providing support and opportunities to our residents through Clarion Futures, our charitable foundation.

Shoosmiths LLP is a UK law firm with 13 locations across the United Kingdom, and 210 partners and 1400+ lawyers and business support employees. It announced a turnover of £167.9 million to end April 2021. Shoosmiths LLP was recently awarded ‘Best Operational Continuity’ and ‘Best Shared Learning with Clients’ at the Managing Partners’ Forum Awards and Legal Technology Team of the Year at the Legal Business Awards, 2021. Shoosmiths has been ranked in the top five firms for deal volume for the past five years in Experian MarketIQ’s M&A Review.

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