Transport Secretary Grant Shapps among keynote speakers at Great Northern Conference 2020

THE Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will be among the keynote speakers at a business event which will make the case for further investment in the North of England.

Monday, 28th September 2020, 4:38 pm
Updated Monday, 28th September 2020, 4:43 pm
Grant Shapps

Mr Shapps will provide an insight into the Government’s transport policy at the Great Northern Conference 2020.

Mr Shapps, who was appointed Secretary of State for Transport last year, was elected as the Conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield in 2005.

The conference, which takes place on 22nd October 2020, will be held online in response to growing Government concerns about the spread of Covid-19.

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Dr Séamus O’Neill

The event follows the stunning success of the inaugural Great Northern Conference in 2019, which was staged in Leeds and attracted speakers from the worlds of religion and commerce.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership and JPIMedia are joining forces again to continue the debate on how best to grow the economy and develop opportunities in a sustainable and meaningful way across the North of England.

The event’s high profile sponsors include the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA)

Dr Séamus O’Neill, the chief executive at the NHSA, said: “Unity of purpose across the North of England is more important now than ever before as we look to build a brighter, more prosperous future post-pandemic.

“We face many challenges in the North of England, from decades of ingrained health inequalities to the continued under investment in health research.

“The pandemic has also hit the North hard, both in terms of death rates and unemployment, which has further exposed these inequities.

“The Government must use this window of opportunity to make good on its commitment to levelling up the North by investing in the region’s health and the assets that will drive economic growth.

Dr O’Neill added: “Poor health is holding back the economy of the North due to lost productivity.

"Our Health for Wealth report found that improving health would reduce the £4 gap in productivity per-person per-hour between the Northern Powerhouse and the rest of England by 30%, generating an additional £13.2bn in UK GVA ( Gross Value Added).

“The potential economic gains that come with improving health in the North can’t be ignored.

“As an organisation that represents NHS trusts, universities and the Academic Health Science Networks across the North, the NHSA is working on behalf of our members to make the case for the health and life sciences sector in the North as an investible proposition to drive economic growth.

“The North is rich in assets that are crucial to the success of the UK health and life science sector.

“The region has particular strengths across: diagnostics; digital pathology and artificial intelligence; advanced therapies; mental health; and health data. We have pioneering researchers and clinicians, world-renowned academics and trailblazing health companies.

“However, to truly unlock the combined potential of the North, the expertise and assets that exist here need to be recognised and there needs to be sustained investment in health, and its underlying contributing factors, from Government.

“The Great Northern Conference in Sheffield provides an ideal opportunity for cross-sector leaders to join together to amplify our collective message so Government recognises the region’s strengths, and the critical role we can play in improving health and economic prosperity post-Covid and post- Brexit.”

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