Events roundup: June 2019 | IPT

One of the main themes of our events in June is the continued trend of sustainability. Our events recognised the responsibility on both the side of Parliament and industry to encourage sustainable practices, to secure a future for our planet whilst harnessing the benefits for the UK economy and skilled job market. This included events on the construction sector and electric vehicles.  

Outside of this theme, we looked at the generational and social mobility issue of affordable housing, how transport infrastructure strategy needs to be tweaked and social media and mental health.

As ever, our events mirror the most important issues being discussed in Parliament and by industry. We provide an opportunity for the two to come together to learn from each other and spark ideas for productive ways forward.

Low Carbon Construction

Tuesday 04 June 2019, the IPT hosted a Breakfast Meeting entitled ‘Building a Low Carbon Construction Industry’, held in the House of Commons. The event was chaired by Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP, Select Committee on Housing, Communities and Local Government. He was joined by speakers Adam Crossley, Director of Environment, Skanska UK and Davide Stronati, Global Sustainability Leader, Mott MacDonald. The Breakfast was attended by members of the House of Commons and House of Lords as well as representatives from industry. 

The attendees discussed: 

  • How it is necessary that Parliament strengthen policy leadership to achieve a low carbon future for construction 
  • It is vital that more support and incentives are available to encourage companies to embrace sustainable construction practices  
  • The importance of retrofitting existing properties to be more carbon neutral as well as future developments. 

 

Powering Up, Powering Ahead

On Wednesday 05 June 2019, the Industry and Parliament Trust hosted the breakfast meeting ‘Powering Ahead! Supporting Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure’. The discussion was chaired by Andy McDonald MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, and was joined by Professor David Greenwood, Head of Advanced Propulsions Systems at WMG at the University of Warwick and Tony Glover, Director of Policy at Energy Networks Association. The central theme explored at the dinner was how the Government could work with industry to ensure growing electric vehicle use is supported by high quality infrastructure.

The attendees discussed:

  • The issue of infrastructure and technology readiness for mass consumer use and demand of electric vehicles, as well as the need for investment in fast charge batteries
  • How decarbonisation the UK transport system should be prioritised and there should be a holistic approach when considering the future of Electric Vehicles, which considers the industry context and current regional projects
  • Reviewed the current lack of regulation in the sector and discussed the future issues which may develop if this is not addressed.

 

Productivity Puzzle

On Monday 10 June 2019, the Industry and Parliament Trust hosted the dinner discussion ‘The Productivity Puzzle: Supporting UK SMEs’. It was chaired by Adrian Bailey MP, House of Commons, and the speakers were Chris Manson, Chief Executive Officer at Newable, and Professor Martin Spring, Director of the Centre for Productivity and Efficiency at Lancaster University. The dinner was attended by members of the House of Commons and House of Lords as well as representatives from industry.

The attendees discussed:

  • The challenges facing low productivity SMES and discussed potential solutions including removing barriers to adopting automation and new technologies
  • How public supply chains and public procurement practices remain difficult for SMEs to successfully navigate
  • The financial problems facing small and medium-sized enterprises including late payment and trying to secure loans.

 

Opening Doors: Affordable Housing

On Tuesday 11 June 2019, the Industry and Parliament Trust hosted the breakfast meeting ‘Affordable Housing: Lending a Hand to the Next Generation’. The discussion was chaired by Alex Cunningham MP, Shadow Minister for Housing. He was joined by Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgages & Housing at Buildings Societies Association, and Craig Calder, Mortgage Propositions Lead at Barclays. The discussion focused on how the Government can work with mortgage lenders to unlock greater access to home ownership.

The attendees discussed:

  • The under-supply of affordable decent housing and the impact on house prices and social mobility
  • Reviewed the current options available to assist young people to get on to the housing ladder, including shared ownership, Help to Buy and the starter home initiative
  • The problems facing small and medium-sized enterprises in the housing and construction industry when trying to secure financing and land.

Shaping Smart Manufacturing

Wednesday 12 June 2019, the IPT hosted a Breakfast Meeting entitled ‘Industry 4.0: Shaping Smart Manufacturing in the UK’, held in the House of Commons. The event was chaired by Chris Green MP, Chair, Manufacturing APPG. He was joined by speakers Chris Reeves, Director for Country Digitalisation, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia, Cisco and Paul O'Donnell, Head of External Affairs, Manufacturing Technologies Association. The Breakfast was attended by members of the House of Commons and House of Lords as well as representatives from industry.

The attendees discussed:

  • How it is necessary to focus on upskilling the current work force as well as inspiring students and young people to get involved with apprenticeship schemes 
  • It is vital that government support schemes and grants are streamlined as the current system is overly complex
  • Whether technological innovations are accessible to businesses, especially SMEs. 

On the Right Track? Restructuring Transport

On Monday 17 June 2019, the Industry and Parliament hosted the dinner discussion ‘Restructuring Transport: Regionalising Rail and Road’. It was chaired by Martin Vickers MP, Chair of the Rail APPG, House of Commons and the speakers were Barbara Moorhouse, Chair of the Rail Standards and Safety Board, and Julian Edwards, Deputy Managing Director & Business Development Director at Abellio. The breakfast meeting was attended by members of the House of Commons and House of Lords as well as representatives from industry.

The attendees discussed:

  • The role that regional authorities should play in deciding modern transport infrastructure strategy
  • Considered the potential benefits and problems of a more integrated intermodal transport system at a city level
  • The importance of decarbonising the transport networks and developing the infrastructure and investment to facilitate this.

Social Media and Mental Health

On Wednesday 19 June 2019, the Industry and Parliament Trust hosted the breakfast meeting ‘How is Social Media Affecting Mental Health?’ It was chaired by Dr Lisa Cameron MP, SNP Spokesperson for Mental Health. She was joined by Dr Cara Booker, Research Fellow for the Institute for Social and Economic Research at University of Essex, and Antony Walker, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at TechUK. The central theme explored at the breakfast meeting was how, with social media becoming increasingly integrated into our daily lives, we can ensure people are living healthy digital lives.

The attendees discussed:

  • How the policy and safeguarding on social media needs to be up to date to proactively and effectively address issues surrounding mental health and cyber-bullying
  • The challenges facing research, including access to data and GDPR, biases, funding and the changing landscape of social media
  • Considered how education could help parents and carers to prevent or mitigate the negative impacts from social media on young peoples’ mental health.

Delivering a Universal Postal Service

On Monday 24 June, the Industry and Parliament Trust hosted a dinner discussion ‘Providing a UK Universal Postal Service Fit for the Future’. The event was chaired by Gill Furniss MP, Shadow Minister for Steel, Postal Affairs, Royal Mail and Consumer Protection and the guest speaker was Stuart Simpson, Chief Operating Officer of the Royal Mail.

The attendees discussed:

  • The differing needs of UK postal consumers, particularly those in rural communities and with less digital familiarity
  • The sustainability and future of the Universal Service Obligation
  • How the increasingly competitive deliveries market has changed in recent years and expectations of future change