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Jo blogs... 3 November 2014

03 Nov 2014

It appears that hardly a day goes by at the moment without another announcement which focuses on the North: in just the last week we've had news about HS3 and further developments around devolution for Manchester. It appears there is something "Northern" in the air.

All of which is great news. While we may not agree with the detail of the specific announcements, it must surely be a good thing for Government to be thinking about the North and finding ways to unleash our potential - which of course will be for the national good. The timings of these announcements also fit well with the keynote event for us this week. At our Northern Housing Summit, held in Leeds on the 6/7th November, we will be joined by some excellent speakers to debate where housing sits in this new landscape - are we part of the discussion or do we risk being left behind, having a march stolen on us by the likes of transport or skills or education?

I don't want to suggest it's a competition between these sectors - far from it - it is through better integration of economic strategy, transport and infrastructure, jobs and reduced dependency on welfare and strong, vibrant, flourishing communities that will be the catalyst for a stronger North. The Summit gives us an opportunity to discuss whether we have the tools, the skills, and the will for the housing sector in the North to meet our aspirations.

We'll discuss the changing landscape, the policy context going into the fast approaching General Election, and how we engage with communities and stimulate innovation. We'll be using the Summit to debate whether enough is being done to support economic growth and regeneration in the North, and we hope to have some results from polling work we've commissioned to share with you.

You may be aware that also taking place in Leeds is the Northern Futures Summit, an initiative led by the Deputy Prime Minister, and we'll be sharing the learning and debate from both events. Unfortunately what Nick Clegg will miss on the Thursday evening as he leaves Leeds are the fabulous short listed films that we'll be watching at Northern Silver Screen.

As ever, the work NHC members do is always inspirational and I can't wait to watch this year's. I look forward to seeing you in Leeds where we will be certain to show that housing in the North is definitely able to #leadnotplead.

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