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Academics get voices heard at party conferences

Academics from Alliance Manchester Business School took part in a number of fringe debates at the recent Labour and Conservative party conferences.

At the Labour conference in Brighton last month Senior Lecturer Dr Anita Greenhill spoke at a panel debate, in partnership with the Social Market Foundation, on how to seize the opportunities of the digital revolution to deliver better work for those in the creative industries.

The sector sees much pay inequality with the highest average wage being that of a film director at £57,859 per year while the average wage of a fashion designer is £20,716. The sector is also finely balanced between those who are already highly digitally skilled, and thus able to adapt short and long-term digital changes to work, and those who are not.

Green recovery

Also in Brighton, Jonatan Pinkse, Professor of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, spoke at a panel debate on what an effective green recovery should look like and what the UK needs to do to ensure it delivers a green economy that works for all.

On a similar theme, he also spoke at a fringe event this week at the Conservative party conference in Manchester where he took part in a debate on how to accelerate the UK’s green recovery. He was also joined on stage by Elvira Uyarra, Professor of Innovation Studies at AMBS.

Professor Pinkse talked about his recent research which compared budgets for green recovery in the UK, France and Germany in the wake of the pandemic, while Professor Uyarra discussed how the UK was well placed to take the green agenda forward in terms of technological advances. “We need to use all the policy levers we have. Our strategy needs to be coherent, consistent, and place-based,” she said.

Net zero

Matthew Fell, Chief Policy Director at the CBI, told the same debate that more businesses were now setting net zero targets, driven by both customer demand and also the need for talent retention and attraction. “More and more people want to work for green companies. Companies also need regulatory certainty and the government has an important role in terms of market making and greening the tax system.”

Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, added that there was a need to “move from rhetoric to reality” in terms of the green debate. “For instance we have to be serious about the housing challenge around retrofitting homes, while we also need to encourage a modal shift in transport use. Car use is already back above pre-pandemic levels.”

Also on the same panel was Rosa Stewart, a member of the Conservative Environment Network Steering Committee.


At another fringe event in Manchester, Professor Richard Jones, Vice-President for Regional Innovation and Civic Engagement at The University of Manchester, took part in a panel discussion on how place-based partnerships can drive innovation and growth across a city region and provide the key to levelling up. Among those joining him for the debate was Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.