Meet the Leaders

Wednesday, 9 June 2021


Click here to watch the event on demand.

Meet the Leaders, a flagship event for Humber Business Week 2021, was hosted by Marketing Humber on 9th June. 

Thomas Martin, Non-Executive Chairman, Arco and Chair, Business Engagement Board, Hull & East Yorkshire LEP, hosted the event, and was joined by: 

  • Jonathan Owen, Leader, East Riding of Yorkshire Council 
  • Daren Hale, Leader, Hull City Council 
  • Philip Jackson, Leader, NE Lincolnshire Council 
  • Rob Waltham, Leader, North Lincolnshire Council 
  • James Newman, Chair, Hull & East Riding LEP 

The Humber’s four local authority leaders and Chair of the Hull and East Yorkshire (HEY) LEP came together for the first time since the recent council elections and formation of the HEY LEP to answer pertinent questions from the local business community. The event focused on the Humber’s transformational opportunities and the need for ambition and proactive collaboration across the entire region. 

The panellists emphasised the importance of unity across the estuary, despite the devolution agenda, and underlined the vital importance of pan-Humber collaboration and upholding strong links. 

James Newman OBE, Chair of the newly-formed HEY LEP, addressed the goals of the body in securing close public and private sector links. He emphasised the strength of the existing pan-Humber networks, encompassing north and south bank universities and colleges, decarbonisation partnership, CATCH, and the Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce, and described how the LEP is keen to bring these together. He also referenced the LEP’s commitment to working closely with the Greater Lincolnshire LEP. 

High on the agenda was the recent freeports announcement, a venture agreed by the panel to offer huge advantages in placing the region on the world map. Councillor Philip Jackson referenced that the Humber is at the head of the pack where the Humber Freeport is concerned, with Councillor Daren Hale adding that it is an opportunity for the region to maximise its place as the green estuary. 

Thomas Martin added: "If we can learn from the freeports example, where we communicate, we can create some amazing things. There is no reason why we can’t recreate the successes of the fabulous, ground-breaking freeport initiative."

Other topics included decarbonisation and transport infrastructure, including ambitions for rail electrification to Hull’s Paragon Interchange and beyond, in addition to connectivity for other forms of transport, including provisions for electric vehicle charging locally and more widely.

Councillor Rob Waltham said: “There are going to be some more commitments made around how we remove carbon and how we are more productive as a local area in terms of minimising carbon usage and maximising green opportunities.” 

The panel also discussed the importance of addressing the issues of social development and inequality. Councillor Jonathan Owen shared that there will be a joint collaborative effort to map inequalities and deal with issues. The panellists highlighted the importance of ensuring efficient and unified private and public sector collaboration, looking in particular at anchor north and south bank institutions and the creation of well-paid, quality jobs. They agreed that practical steps such as creating positive economic environments and promoting aspiration and opportunity would be an effective approach. 

Despite recent changes and, with devolution on the horizon, a unified Humber was at the forefront of the whole discussion. 

Thomas Martin summarised: “Here is clear evidence that the LEPs and four Local Authority leaders are aligned. There’s huge confidence and a commitment to go forward.” 

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