Employers' groups join forces to strengthen regional voice

Phil Smith
Managing Director | Business West
5th October 2023

Business West has joined with five leading employers’ groups to create a new alliance to strengthen cooperation and drive good growth across different parts of the country.

The alliance will work together to leverage each region’s particular strengths. It will be chaired by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and also includes BusinessLDN, Business South, Business West, Cambridge Ahead and the North West Business Leadership Team. A key area of focus will be driving place-based economic strategy to boost regional productivity and good growth, including by strengthening innovation, spatial planning and foreign direct investment.  

The Growing Together Alliance accelerates and formalises the existing collaboration between these groups. The six organisations maintain their independence but have united to drive forward their shared belief that transformational, sustainable and inclusive growth requires regional collaboration and delivering tailored economic strategies that recognise each region’s unique contribution. 

Phil Smith Managing Director of Business West said: “UK PLC needs all cylinders of its engine working in concert. This alliance of regional private sector groups can work with our publicly elected bodies and public private partnerships, for example the Western Gateway, to strengthen our approach to delivering economic benefits for the whole of the country. Devolution will be a central plank of any future government’s approach to growth and harnessing the insights and power of the private sector is vital to maximising its potential.”

Henri Murison, Chief Executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and Chair of the Growing Together Alliance, said: “Fixing the UK’s productivity challenge cannot be done successfully from Whitehall, and our businesses and universities across the regions of the nation know what the barriers are from poor connectivity to underinvestment in R&D. We need a sustained partnership with the next Government and their successors to grow the whole country, together, in the national interest.”

John Dickie, Chief Executive of BusinessLDN, said: “With a UK general election expected next year against a challenging economic outlook, it is a vital time to strengthen the voice of business across the country. London and other parts of the country share a common cause on many important issues. I look forward to working together with my counterparts to ensure the capital works with and for other regions to drive growth, investment and job creation to benefit all our communities.”

Leigh-Sara Timberlake, Chief Executive of Business South, said: “As an organisation, we have worked tirelessly to illustrate the value of collaboration and partnership within the Central South. We look forward to working with the members of the Growing Together Alliance to nurture and grow that belief, with the aim of driving future investment and sustainable growth that benefits us all. Together we are stronger.”

Dan Thorp, Chief Executive of Cambridge Ahead, said: “Through this alliance we are really focussed on better understanding and evidencing the relationships that exist between local and regional economies across the country, and through this inform UK industrial policy that effectively taps into the growth potential of places for the overall benefit of the UK.”

Emma Degg Chief Executive of the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) said: “The new network is the culmination of relationships built quietly and respectfully over several years, not subject to short term political cycles or agendas, but grounded in our joint commitment to good growth. By learning from each other, discussing challenges and opportunities, and sharing visions for how all our places can thrive, we will truly be able to grow better together.”

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