IPT March Events Roundup | IPT

March was the final month of our first events term in 2019. We used the events to take a detailed look into some of the pressing policy issues such as sustainability, skills and apprenticeships and the future of SMEs.

These issues, especially sustainability and the jobs for the future, are being discussed in both houses of Parliament, in select committees and throughout the wider world of politics. By holding these discussions where we bring representatives from industry and Parliament, we help each side better understand the issue at hand and the range of opinions held on a particular topic.

Going Greener With Gas

On Monday 04 March 2019, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a dinner discussion entitled ‘The Future of Gas: Supporting a Low Carbon Economy’. The discussion was chaired by Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Select Committee of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and was joined by Mike Sangster, UK Chair of Total.

During the dinner attendees:

  • Considered what key actions are needed from government, regulators and industry to ensure gas can fully provide secure, affordable and low carbon energy in a low carbon economy.
  • Discussed the challenge to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for energy while also adapting to negate the effects of climate change
  • Evaluated the capture, storage and transportation of difference types of renewable energy.

Getting Creative

Tuesday 5 March 2019, the IPT hosted a breakfast meeting entitled ‘The Creative Industries Sector Deal: One Year On’, held in the House of Commons. The event was chaired by Kevin Brennan MP, Shadow Minister for Arts and Heritage and Deputy Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He was joined by speakers Sir Nick Kenyon CBE, Managing Director, The Barbican Centre and Lisa Burger, Executive Director, National Theatre. The Breakfast was attended by members of the House of Commons and House of Lords as well as representatives from industry.

During the breakfast, attendees discussed:

• How the creative industries should be encouraged within the education system and be seen as core subjects

• The barriers facing individuals outside of London and how social mobility is an obstacle in many parts of the UK in relation to the creative industries

• The extent to which the creative industries contribute to the UK economy and how the UK is a leading force in creativity worldwide.

Appraising Apprenticeships

Marking National Apprenticeship Week 2019, the IPT hosted a dinner discussion on Tuesday 5th March entitled ‘Skills for the Future in a Fourth Industrial Revolution’. Ian Mearns MP, Member of the Select Committee on Education chaired the discussion and was joined by Nigel Whitehead CBE, Chief Technology Officer at BAE Systems. The dinner was attended by members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as apprentices, and representatives from industry and academia.

During the dinner, attendees discussed:

  • The importance of children at a young age understanding the value of apprenticeships
  • How there is debate on which government department should deliver greater apprenticeship provision – the Department for Education or Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Whether there is adequate support for SMEs providing apprenticeships
  • Whether the apprenticeship levy has led to the recent significant drop in apprenticeship delivery.

Digital Destinations

On Monday 11th March 2019, the IPT hosted a dinner discussion entitled ‘Personalising Public Transport in the Digital Era’. The discussion was chaired by the Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP. She was joined by David Brown, Group Chief Executive, Go Ahead Group. A central theme explored at the dinner was the need for transport companies to continually innovate their provision to adapt to consumer demand.

At the dinner, attendees discussed:

  • The need for large companies to support start-ups in the transport sector
  • Whether technological innovations could help improve provision of transport outside of cities
  • How the fall in bus ridership can be counteracted through deals for younger users and making journeys faster and more efficient.


Focus on Funding in Academia

On Tuesday 12 March 2019, the IPT hosted a dinner discussion entitled ‘Funding Academia: University Research Post-Brexit’. The discussion was chaired by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, Opposition Spokesperson for International Trade, House of Lords and was joined by speaker Paul Joseph Boyle CBE FRSE FBA, Vice Chancellor at the University of Leicester. The attendees discussed the impact of Brexit upon the future of UK academia research.

At the dinner, attendees:

  • Discussed the rising financial pressures facing universities, particularly on future research grants and funding, and the implications
  • Considered the future of international student fees and the local economies surrounding universities
  • Evaluated the previous and future post-Brexit role of EU funding on University research and innovation in the UK.

Supporting SMEs

On Monday 18 March 2019, the IPT hosted a dinner discussion entitled, ‘SMEs Post-Brexit: A New Horizon for Business’.  The discussion was chaired by Bill Esterson MP, Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and for International Trade, and was joined by speakers Sue Douthwaite, Managing Director of Santander Business, and Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses. The dinner was attended by members from the House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as representatives from industry.

During the event, attendees:

  • Discussed the low confidence and uncertainty facing small businesses surrounding Brexit and the resulting risk aversion and slow growth
  • Reviewed how Government engages with the SME sector and the trade opportunities available for SMEs to take advantage of during the Brexit transition period and beyond
  • Considered the regional disparities in access for small and medium enterprises to support and educational programmes.

Guiding Corporate Governance

On Tuesday 19 March 2019, the IPT hosted a breakfast meeting entitled ‘UK Corporate Governance: Building a Trusted Framework’. The discussion was chaired by the Chair of the APPG on Corporate Governance, Jonathan Djanogly MP. Joining Jonathan was Mike McKeon, Deputy President, ICAS and Professor Shahzad Uddin, Professor of Accounting, Essex University.

At this meeting, attendees discussed:

  • How audit is dominated by the Big Four firms, and what this means for the reputation of the accounting industry
  • The need for investors to engage with companies, and vice-versa
  • Whether Modern Slavery legislation goes far enough to ensure firms are audited fully
  • How new generations of investors are more interested in ethical investments by firms
  • Whether regulators should have greater powers to sanction directors who commit fraud or conduct hostile takeovers.

Single-Use Plastics: That’s a Wrap?

On Monday 25 March 2019, the IPT hosted a dinner discussion entitled, ‘Unwrapping the Issue of Single-Use Plastics’. The discussion was chaired Pauline Latham OBE MP, Select Committee on International Development, and was joined by speakers Julian Hunt, Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at Coca-Cola European Partners, and Professor Sahar Al-Malaika, Leader of the Polymer Processing & Performance Research Unit at Aston University. The discussion focused on how government, industry and academia can work together to create solutions to the issues of single-use plastic which are both environmentally friendly and economically viable.

During the event attendees:

  • Discussed the possibilities to educate and incentivise the general public and industry to reduce, re-use and recycle plastic
  • Emphasised the need to consider the full life cycle of alternative materials to plastic and if it is fit for purpose or there are any unintended environmental consequences
  • Highlighted the disparities across consumers recycling experiences across regions and stressed need for a standardised and easy to follow recycling process.

Staying Sustainable in the Sky

On Tuesday 26th March 2019, the IPT hosted a dinner discussion entitled ‘The Future of Sustainable Aviation Post-Brexit’. Chaired by Kevan Jones MP, the discussion saw speeches by Neil Robinson, Corporate Social Responsibility Director, Manchester Airports Group and Katie Roscoe, Government Affairs, Rolls-Royce.

Asking what more could be done by the aviation industry and government in the battle against climate change, attendees discussed:

  • How effective public transport connections will ensure a continually sustainable aviation sector
  • Whilst significant progress has been made to reduce engine noise, there remains a trade-off between emissions and engine noise
  • How reducing ‘stacking’ above airports such as Heathrow is a crucial way to reduce pollution, and upgrades to air traffic control over the next 5 years will help in this.