MTC’s Dr Charlie Whitford outlines MTC’s commitment to the North at the Convention of the North Conference 2022
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MTC’s Dr Charlie Whitford outlines MTC’s commitment to the North at the Convention of the North Conference 2022

Dr Charlie Whitford, MTC’s Director of North West and Regions, recently spoke at the Convention of the North Conference 2022 with NP11.

The event, hosted by council leaders, metro mayors and the North’s 11 LEP Chairs, brought together influential UK leaders from business, industry and politics including Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to examine the future of the North.

With over 300 people in attendance, the conference focused on the ‘Five Game-Changers for the North’; a list first published in a report in October 2021 that identified five key areas whereby the Government could collaborate with the North to boost the region’s economy.

The ‘Five Game-Changers’ are:

  • Leading the Green Industrial Revolution
  • Closing the healthy life expectancy gap between the North and South through innovation
  • Closing the education and skills gap
  • Improving connectivity in towns and cities in the North
  • Increasing private and public investment in research and development spending in the North

Dr Whitford featured on a panel session titled ‘Reasons to be cheerful’ where he shared the details of MTC’s collaboration with partners in the region, with a particular focus on the collaboration and progress being made in the construction industry.

More specifically, Dr Whitford addressed the National Centre for Advanced Construction for Housing sector development programme that has been developed with BEIS, the Department for Levelling Up Housing & Communities and Treasury, together with the Manufacturing Technology Centre and other Innovation partners, Industry, Housing Associations, and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

The programme’s purpose is to look to address the issues facing the sector and unlock the productivity improvements required that will provide value for the customer and develop the supply chain in a way that increases employment opportunities, further supporting the Levelling Up Agenda.

On the issues, Dr Whitford said:

There is an opportunity to develop a productive sector delivering quality and value into our housing stock with the ability to compete, exporting products and services across the UK and beyond. However, if we don’t act now, the market will quickly be filled by imports delivering against cost and compliance rather than quality and value.

Dr Whitford added:

The North is perfectly placed to lead the way in this solution and I am thankful that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Housing Associations such as Torus have fully backed a programme which is not isolated to the region understanding that for this to work, it must work at scale. We have therefore developed this sector development programme which is fully inclusive and can scale across supply and demand in the North and beyond. We have already aggregated a pipeline of 24,500 new homes and 10,000 retrofit across six Housing Associations and Peel Land & Property.

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