In her first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May promised to try to "make Britain a country that works for everyone". To do this, she said, would mean addressing "a gaping chasm between wealthy London and the rest of the country".
Her words were seen as an acknowledgment that the vote to leave the European Union had been driven by many voters' perception that they were not sharing the benefits of the UK's economic growth. May's diagnosis was widely shared. Before the referendum, the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) had set up its Inclusive Growth Commission to explore how economic development could be pursued in ways that were more likely to help the many, not just the few. The commission's recommendations, published in March, argued that economic inclusivity would be the only way to heal the deep rifts exposed by Brexit within and between the towns, cities and nations of the UK.
This year's Institute of Economic Development annual conference, which takes place in London on 23 November, is taking "Achieving Sustainable Inclusive Growth for the Economy" as its theme. Delegates will hear briefings from ministers and officials on key government policies intended to produce growth that is more regionally inclusive, such as the Northern Powerhouse and the industrial strategy.
There will also be practical masterclasses on topics including how to implement inclusive growth strategies.
1. Be briefed by ministers and officials on evolving government economic development policy. Speakers include Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry MP and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy/Department for Communities and Local Government Cities and Local Growth Unit director Tom Walker.
2. Gain insight from renowned experts on the implications for economic development strategy of Brexit and the other big political issues of the day. Speakers include Times columnist Matthew Parris, former commercial secretary to the Treasury Lord O'Neill and former joint head of the government economic service Vicky Pryce.
3. Learn how to make economic growth in your area more inclusive. Former RSA Inclusive Growth Commission leader Charlotte Alldritt will share insights on how to devise and implement inclusive growth strategies. Joseph Rowntree Foundation head of policy Katie Schmuecker will lead a round table discussion on practical methods of ensuring inclusive growth.
4. Find out what powers and resources government offers local areas through devolution deals, and what it requires in return. BEIS/DCLG Cities and Local Growth Unit director Tom Walker will share his insight, and lead a round table discussion on the topic.
5. Discover how local authorities can work with employers to provide local people with the skills that the businesses need. Speakers include Construction Industry Training Board strategic partnership director Sarah Fenton, who will share case studies demonstrating how various skills development models work with local authorities and local enterprise partnerships.
6. Understand how the government intends its industrial strategy to work with the housing white paper to drive economic development. Speakers include Rachel Fisher, head of infrastructure at the government's Cities and Local Growth Unit.
7. Benefit from lessons learnt in successful places around the country. Manchester Growth Company group chief executive Mark Hughes will set out the lessons of his city-region's experience in attracting investment.
8. Network with economic development and regeneration professionals from across the country.
Key conference details
The IED Annual Conference
When and where: 23 November 2017, ILEC Conference Centre, London
Cost: IED members £249 plus VAT; non-IED members £299 plus VAT
For more details visit: economicdevelopmentconference.com