Berwick Partners, Odgers Berndtson, Odgers Interim and PwC hosted this year’s Annual Yorkshire Board Dinner on Thursday 14th January 2016 at the Civic Hall in Leeds. This annual dinner has become a popular event and provides a great opportunity for the leaders of the business community across the Yorkshire region to come together. With over one hundred Chief Executives, Chairs and Non-Executive Directors from both the Private and Public sectors in attendance this year the evening was full of lively discussion and debate.
Guest speaker for the evening was Lord Jim O’Neill, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury and the man charged with bringing about regional devolution and the Northern Powerhouse concept, in a way that ignites the region’s economic development and prosperity. Not an insignificant challenge.
The Northern Powerhouse concept was only created mid-2014, and Lord O’Neill accepted that it will take time to have a real and meaningful impact in the North of England and Yorkshire. He is confident that the concept and reality will generate growth and jobs, as well as long term infrastructure such as road and rail links between the major cities in the region. Lord O’Neill was quick to underline the point that the Northern Powerhouse isn’t simply about infrastructure, and highlighted that it is equally important to create the skills, training, education and overall culture of success that will further retain existing and also entice new employers to the region.
Lord O’Neill concluded with the strong opinion that London’s international profile and growth, brings benefits the regions, benefits that the Northern Powerhouse could and should use to its advantage. If leveraged in the right way this could mirror London’s increasing success for the benefit of all in the region.
Lord O’Neill’s speech was highly insightful and entertaining, followed by an extensive question and answer session allowing the audience to probe further into this fascinating subject.
Simon Walton is Managing Partner of the Leeds office and leads the Consumer & Retail Practice for Berwick Partners nationally.
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