The People’s Powerhouse Convention 2018

Collaborate. Debate. Network. Share. Inspire!

Following the huge success the 2017 event, this year’s Convention will continue to inspire and lead change in the North. The objective of this event is to bring people together for meaningful dialogue, sharing and action – be they practitioners, policy makers, opinion formers, young people, businesses, MPs or community groups.

This years event takes place on Tuesday 20 November, 09:00 – 16:30, Northern Commercials Stadium Conference & Events.

Themes for the event are:

  • How do we create a more inclusive North where all our diverse voices and strengths are represented?
  • What does a good economy look like for us all?
  • How can we ensure people are involved locally in the design and delivery of services?
  • How can we value all our places, not just the big cities?
  • What more can we do to collaborate, share and learn about what’s working, together?

If you want to be part of this year’s big conversation, if you’re up for celebrating the great things that are already happening and you have ideas about how better lives for all of us in the North can be achieved – this is your event!!

This is a great opportunity for you to raise awareness of your work, organisation, campaign or service….and genuinely connect, collaborate and create…helping to shape the kind of North we all want to live and work in. In addition to registering as a delegate, you can send us your ideas for sessions you want to lead by clicking here

Speakers Confirmed:

  • Andy Burham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
  • Edna Robinson, Chairman, People’s Powerhouse (also Big Life Group, Trafford Housing Trust)
  • Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader Bradford Council and chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority
  • Nazir Afzal OBE, former Chief Crown Prosecutor
  • Neil McInroy, Chief Executive, CLES
  • Tony Walsh (Longfella) our Poet In Residence for the day – and there will be delegate involvement!

BCC response to PM’s Brexit Statement

The British Chambers of Commerce has responded to the Prime Minister’s statement today (Friday 21 Sep 2018) on the negotiations with the EU on Brexit.  The BCC response is below.

“While the Prime Minister’s determination to reach a deal is appreciated, businesses tell us over and over that the time for posturing from both sides is over.  Businesses across the UK want the negotiators to knuckle down and deliver tangible results that enable them to plan for the future. Firms need clarity, precision, and answers to their real-word, practical questions – and they need them fast. There is no time to lose. People’s livelihoods, major investments in our towns and cities and business confidence are at stake.”

On the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a negotiated outcome:

“Many firms are hugely worried about a messy and disorderly outcome, and the potential impact on their ability to trade and grow. Others could be caught flat-footed. Both sides must make every effort to avoid this scenario.”

On EU citizens working in UK businesses:

“Businesses feel a strong sense of responsibility to their EU employees. We welcome the Prime Minister’s clear commitment to guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens currently in the UK, regardless of the outcome of negotiations. This must be translated into clear, precise guidance as soon as possible to give people the security they need.”

Theresa May has called on the EU to show more respect in the negotiations, and for it to present a credible alternative to her Chequers Plan.


BCC: Growth expectations downgraded

The Beating Heart of the Economy

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has downgraded its growth expectations for the UK economy, forecasting GDP growth for 2018 at just 1.1% (down from 1.3%). The BCC has also downgraded its GDP growth forecast for 2019 from 1.4% to 1.3%. Our latest forecast implies that by 2020 the UK economy will have experienced its second weakest decade of average annual GDP growth on record.

The downgrades to our forecast for GDP growth in 2018 and 2019 have been largely driven by a weaker outlook for trade and investment. Exporters face more subdued growth given continued Brexit uncertainty and the expected slower growth in key markets. As a consequence, net trade is expected to make a negative contribution to GDP growth over the forecast period.

The outlook for investment is more subdued than in our previous forecast with persistent economic and political uncertainty expected to increasingly weigh on investment intentions. Business investment growth is expected to be weaker across the forecast horizon than in our Q2 forecast. The high upfront cost of doing business in the UK and the ongoing uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the EU are expected to continue to stifle business investment.

The labour market is expected to continue to be a source of strength for the economy, with the unemployment rate forecasted to remain close to its record low. However, in such a tight labour market, businesses will continue to face significant skills gaps, undermining their potential to grow. At the same time, workers are unlikely to experience meaningful real wage growth as the gap between pay and price growth is forecast to remain negligible.

If realised, the leading business organisation’s latest forecast suggests that the UK economy remains lethargic. Brexit uncertainty and the on-going failure to fix domestic fundamentals – stronger labour supply, digital and physical connectivity, and more – are hurting the UK’s growth prospects. To bolster stronger growth, the government must provide precision on the nature of any future relationship with the EU and answer the practical questions that firms have – a ‘messy’, disorderly Brexit will only add to the uncertainty that already exists. The BCC has outlined and is assessing the key questions that businesses need clarity on in order to take decisions, invest and plan for the future.

Alongside the forecast, the BCC warns the Prime Minister and Chancellor that the government’s upcoming Autumn Budget cannot be a ’business as usual’ affair. Ministers must go all-out to incentivise and kickstart business investment at a crucial turning point for the UK.

Key points in the forecast:

  • UK GDP growth forecast for 2018 is downgraded from 1.3% to 1.1%, and from 1.4% to 1.3% for 2019, before rising to 1.6% in 2020 (unchanged)
  • Growth in household consumption for 2018 is expected to slow to 1.0%, before rising to 1.3% in 2019 and 1.7% in 2020, largely unchanged from the previous forecast
  • Average earnings growth will slightly outstrip inflation over the forecast period, with growth of 2.6%, 2.8%, and 3.0%, compared with inflation of 2.5%, 2.3%, and 1.8%
  • BCC forecasts export growth of 1.7% in 2018 – down from 2.8% in the previous forecast – this is due to revisions of previous data. We expect a negative contribution from trade over the forecast period
  • Total investment growth of 1.4% in 2018 (down from 1.8% in the previous forecast) with growth of 1.4% in 2019 and 1.5% in 2020
  • Business investment is expected to remain weak, with growth of 1.0% in 2018, 1.2% in 2019, and 1.4% in 2020
  • We now anticipate interest rates rising to 1.25% by the end of the forecast period, with rate rises expected in Q1 2019 and Q2 2020.


Do you know a great leader?

The Yorkshire Leadership Awards offer a great opportunity to showcase the achievements of businesses in the region, and recognise the leaders who are role models for their teams and raise the bar for their competitors.

The West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce are proud to be supporting these awards and encourage entries and nominations. 

Sponsored by Leeds Beckett University’s Leeds Business School, the awards lunch, to be held on Wednesday 28 November, will feature keynote speaker rugby league player Jamie Peacock. As a former captain of both Great Britain and England, Peacock will talk about how strong leadership and teamwork can lead to great success.

Peacock is widely acknowledged as one of the best players of the Super League era. As a player, he led from the front and led his teams to glory while earning the respect  from his team mates and his opponents in both hemispheres through his determination and commitment.

In a distinguished career for Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos, Peacock won nine league titles, four Challenge Cups and four World Club Challenge trophies.

Enter the awards here

Property Lunch to hear about Odeon plans

Making ‘Bradford Live’ again

  • What’s happening with the former Odeon building?
  • How will it change the fortunes of Bradford?
  • When is it going to happen?

Come along and find out at this Bradford Property Forum Lunch – Tuesday 16 October, at the Great Victoria Hotel.

Lots of things have been said about the demise and re-birth of the building last known as the Odeon in Bradford.

Built in 1930 as the New Victoria, and re-named the Gaumont in 1950, the Godwin Street building finally became the Odeon in 1969.

Initially operating as a cinema, the venue has also been a dance hall and featured ballet, bingo, concerts and other types of live performance.  Artists such as the Beatles, the Stones, Tom Jones and the Everly Brothers have all headlined there.

Since 2000, it has stayed silent.  Under threat of demolition, campaigners appear to have saved this once popular live music venue.

Of late, one Bradford businessman has made it his mission to save the building that, let’s be honest, some have loved and some have loathed.  Lee Craven intends to make ‘Bradford Live’ again and has corporate support on his side.

If you’ve been living or working in Bradford for more than a couple of years, you’re likely to have heard many pros and cons about the building or the current redevelopment proposals.  Come and hear from the horse’s mouth, when Lee will tell us about the plans, and when they will come to fruition.

To read more about the ‘Bradford Live’ project, click here.

To read more about the history of the building, click here.

The format of the lunch is a two-course lunch with a pre-planned seating.  £30 for Chamber members; £42 non-members.

To book your place(s) please book online, email Clare or Jess or call 01274 206660 to speak to our events team.

Chamber members bend minister’s ear

Businesses in Bradford were able to tell a leading cabinet minister about the importance of transport connections in the District, thanks to the Chamber.

At only two days’ notice, West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce pulled in a group of businesses and found a venue to host Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and a team of civil servants, prior to him making a major announcement that could affect them.

Businesses hear from Transport Secretary in Shipley

Aerospace engineers Produmax in Shipley hosted the visit, accompanied by an entourage of media journalists and broadcasters.  Mr Grayling and local MP Philip Davies met with a dozen local businesses, including Bradford Chamber President, Nick Garthwaite, who were able to relate hurdles faced on roads, rail and air travel into and out of Bradford. Other present included Manor Coatings, Univer and Incommunities.

The purpose of the visit was to announce that £300,000 was being made available for a feasibility study on the need for a new by-pass for Shipley.  It was also revealed that Highways England will spend £500,000 on improvements to the A1 at junction 47 near Harrogate, increasing road capacity, reducing queuing and improving journey times.

Mike Cartwright of the Chamber’s policy team, who organised the event, said afterwards:

“It was all hands on deck when we got the call from DfT – Manor Coatings had also been willing to host the visit, so particular thanks to them and Produmax for stepping up at such short notice.

Produmax MD, Jeremy Ridyard (right) with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

The Department for Transport later said:

“The feasibility study could uncover evidence of the wider benefits of a new by-pass to the town; for example, by cutting congestion in the centre and moving traffic onto an alternative road.  It will also explore how a route to the east could improve air quality and remove barriers to economic growth.  If found to be viable, a relief road would provide a second crossing of the River Aire at Shipley and potentially create access to future development opportunities, including new housing.”

Any future decisions on whether a by-pass is built will depend on the outcome of the feasibility study.



Read the Government’s full announcement here.


Shining light on the energy sector

Businesses are being encouraged to attend a networking event to hear about latest plans to transform the energy sector.

The head of Drax Power, Andy Koss, will speak at an upcoming lunch of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.  Andy will cover the many changes in the energy industry in recent years, and take questions on the sector’s future prospects.

In recent years, Drax has converted to using sustainably-sourced wood pellets instead of coal, becoming the single largest source of renewable power in the country (15%).  Andy has played an instrumental role in Drax’s transformation into a primarily biomass-fuelled generator.  Aswell as responsibility for safety, operations and maintenance, Andy is also heavily involved in a pipeline of projects including developing four rapid response gas generation plants to plug gaps at times of system stress.

The lunch, at Leeds’ Queen’s Hotel on 26 September, will follow the organisation’s annual general meeting; the AGM takes place at 11.45, followed by networking and the lunch at 12.30.

Call the Chamber on 0113 247 0000/01274 206660 for more information.  The event is £45 to Chamber members.

Editor’s Notes

  1. Drax supports 6,000 jobs across the North of England and supports around £600m of economic activity in the region.
  2. Prior to joining Drax, Andy has served in roles at Provident Financial, UBS, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson and Lehman Brothers.
  3. Andy currently sits on the Board of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, a business led-organisation chaired by George Osborne committed to maximising the economic opportunities for the North of England.

Photo caption:  Andy Koss, far left, at a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting with members of the Department for Transport Executive Committee

Congratulations to Ed Anderson, new Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate former President of Leeds Chamber, Ed Anderson, on his appointment as Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire.

The Lord Lieutenant is appointed by the Queen and is Her Majesty’s representative in West Yorkshire. Ed is responsible for making arrangements for royal visits to the county, presenting British Empire medals and other awards, advising on submissions for honours nominations, preparing guest lists for royal garden parties, as well as maintaining close links with our regional armed forces.

More information on the Lord Lieutenant can be found here: