Northern Powerhouse Conference 2018 postponed

Local authority leaders on stage at the 2017 Northern Powerhouse conference in Manchester.

Organisers of the Northern Powerhouse Conference have announced that the high-profile event, due to take place on 13-14 February next year, is being postponed. No reason has been given for the decision and no new date for when the event will go ahead has been announced.

The annual gathering, which brings together hundreds of delegates including chief executives, businesses and policy makers, including many from the construction and infrastructure sector, was due to be held at Manchester Central with a high-profile line up of speakers.

Two previous conferences have included a series of industry big hitters as speakers as well as government ministers and both were hosted by Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys. Rumours of low ticket sales have not been confirmed by the organisers, though a message was sent to those who had already bought tickets, reading: “Unfortunately we have to inform you that we have taken the extremely difficult decision to postpone the Conference. Please accept our sincere apologies for this.”

The message went on to say that refunds would be posted out immediately by cheque. Martin Venning, director of UK Northern Powerhouse Ltd, said the event had been postponed rather than cancelled. “We will be making a further announcement on this very shortly but the bottom line is that it is postponed. This is very important to the way that we operate so there is no question that anyone who has committed funds will not be receiving them.”

A message on the conference website simply says “We have taken the extremely difficult decision to postpone the Northern Powerhouse Conference in 2018. Please accept our sincere apologies for this. We will revert with more information ASAP.”

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership think tank, said: “I feel strongly that there is genuine support for the Northern Powerhouse from businesses across the north, and a renewed focus from government, as evidenced by the funding commitments in the budget and industrial strategy.

“It is important that the north works together to promote its strengths and attract funding from government on fundamental issues that matter to everyone in the region, such as transport, education and further devolution.”

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