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Northern Powerhouse will see region rival London, bureau claims

ConferenceLeeds says initiative can expand events sector and help bridge the north-south divide

The development of the Northern Powerhouse will see the region’s conference offering boosted to rival that of London, according to ConferenceLeeds.

Jennifer Young, associate director of visitor economy at ConferenceLeeds, said that the Northern Powerhouse would help expand the conferencing sector across the north.

She said: “The Northern Powerhouse would enable us to extend the collaborative work we do and the venue portfolio we have in Leeds, across the North in its entirety, in a way that would rival the capital.

“We have already secured several large-scale national and international events for 2016 and beyond including conferences for the British Educational Research Association, International Association of Language Centres and the Tourism and Events Showcase. 

“These events show that Leeds is going from strength to strength as a conferencing city, holding over 54,000 events in 2014, bringing an estimated 3.87 million delegates to the region, worth around £447m to the local economy.”

Gordon Jackson, chair of the Leeds Hotels and Venues Association and GM at Thorpe Park Hotel and Spa, added that the Northern Powerhouse would be truly significant in terms of the economic growth of the city and have a direct impact on the growth of business tourism for the region.

He said: “Devolution to the North will give Leeds the power to finally reduce the massive gap between the North and South. Leeds has fantastic facilities for meetings and events and is already punching above its weight in terms of attracting major events to the city. By finally having the investment in an integrated transport system by rail and air, giving ease of access for business travellers, it will enable the city to compete substantially with the capital, both nationally and internationally.”

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, revealed that Leeds is currently producing new private sector jobs at the fastest rate in the country.

She said: “Investor confidence in Leeds continues to grow, with major new businesses being attracted to development opportunities like the South Bank, Thorpe Park, Victoria Gate and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone, which are regarded amongst the best of their type in Europe, and helping the city produce new private sector jobs at a rate higher than anywhere else in the UK, including London. 

“The recent announcement of significant investment by Hualing Industry and Trade Group in Thorpe Park is an example of that confidence in Leeds at an international business level. The future of the Leeds economy looks very bright, and as a city we are determined to do all we can to ensure investment equates to regeneration, jobs and skills opportunities for everyone in the city and wider city region to benefit from.”

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