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Back to Events

Harnessing the power of inward investment to level up the UK

Date: 13 July 2021, 10:00 - 11:00
Location: Online webinar
DWF in association with Onward would like to invite you to this special event. 

Event Details

The Government has renewed its commitment to level up the country, and the challenge has only grown in the wake of the economic damage from the pandemic. As we emerge from lockdown and look to get the economy firing on all cylinders again, policymakers must look to utilise all available options to innovate and provide growth opportunities to communities across the country. With new regulatory flexibility, taking advantage of  the benefits from foreign direct investment will be critical to not only ‘build back better’ economically, but will be crucial for the regeneration of regions that have been hit hardest.

The benefits of inward investment are significant – from productivity gains, to more innovative and R&D intensive activity, to job and wage growth – FDI can make a significant contribution to the economy. However, while foreign investment in the UK has risen by volume, it has become highly concentrated by geography. The proliferation of investment attraction mechanisms like special economic zones and investment tax credits in other jurisdictions, matched with the growing number of opportunity markets through globalisation, means that competition in the future will be more intense.  The question the government faces is how to upgrade the country’s toolkit to maximise the volume and quality to FDI projects, and, importantly, how to ensure that lagging areas benefit.

This event will bring together parliamentarians and industry leaders to discuss how global investment can contribute to the post pandemic economy, and drive forward ‘left behind’ regions. It will be a chance to consider the practical policy levers available to Government to build an open and competitive market, how best to incentivise inward investment across the UK, and what it means for the places that need it most.


Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Kt was appointed unpaid Minister for Investment jointly at the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on 18 March 2020.

Before joining government, his career spanned the private and public sectors. His roles have included:

  • Chairman of Barclays Bank plc and Standard Life Aberdeen
  • Lead non-executive on the board of the Ministry of Defence
  • Chairman of financial services body, TheCityUK, from 2012 to 2015
  • Member of HM Treasury’s Financial Services Trade and Investment Board

Lord Grimstone has held board appointments across many sectors and served as one of the UK’s Business Ambassadors. More…

Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham
Richard was elected in December 2019 and is the first Conservative Member of Parliament ever to be elected by the people of North West Durham.

Born in Blackburn, he has worked in both the public and private sectors, as well as in political campaigning. Most recently, before becoming an MP, he worked in the Department for Education as a Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education. Following his election, Richard has been very active on behalf of his constituency, both locally and in Parliament, raising issues such as transport infrastructure, jobs and the economy, farming, and lobbying for a replacement to Shotley Bridge Hospital. He is also involved in national campaigns to better regulate gambling, provide better mental health services and help prevent suicide, and for environmental protection.
Tim Newns, Chief Executive, MIDAS

Tim has been Chief Executive of MIDAS, Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency, since 2011, having originally joined MIDAS as Business Development Manager in 2005. Over the 13 years Tim has been at MIDAS, Manchester has become the most invested in city in the UK outside London, and the region is viewed as a global investment location of choice, ranking in the top 10 of the IBM Global Investment Monitor.

Previous to MIDAS Tim worked in business development in the UK and then as a journalist with the Cape Argus newspaper in Cape Town and the Daily Times in Lahore, Pakistan before going on to work for the Commercial Department of the Foreign Office in India. More…

Lizzy Burden, reporter, Bloomberg

Lizzy covers the the Bank of England and the Treasury, the UK economy and trade, writing the weekly Beyond Brexit newsletter and contributing to Bloomberg TV, radio, podcasts and Quicktake, the social media channel. Lizzy is a regular guest on the BBC, Sky News and Times Radio, and has hosted events, including for the Confederation of British Industry, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Bristol Economics Festival and British American Business.

Listed as one of MHP's 30 under 30 journalists for her city and business coverage, she has written previously for The Telegraph and The Times, presented CoronaNomics TV and produced BBC Daily Politics. Before journalism, Lizzy was a fashion model across five continents for eight years. More…

Jonathan Branton, Partner, Head of Government and Public Sector // Head of EU/Competition, DWF
Jonathan has been advising on EU/Competition issues for 25 years, much of which was spent living and working in the EU capital of Brussels. He is a dual qualified UK and Irish solicitor and now largely shares his time between the UK and Ireland.  Jonathan advises in all aspects of EU and UK Competition law including restrictive agreements, abuse of dominant position, merger control etc, and is particularly well known for advising on all forms of State aid and public funding issues (including ESIF/ERDF, eRGF and many other funds) and public procurement.  Jonathan also has long experience in international trade defence and WTO law issues, and more recently has advised extensively on Brexit and related transformation issues between the UK and Ireland and the rest of the EU. More…
Will Holloway, Deputy Director, Onward (Chair)
Will Holloway is Onward’s Deputy Director, having joined in late 2020. Before joining Onward, Will worked as a Special Adviser at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for International Development. Previously, he worked in the Research Department at CCHQ and in Parliament

More about DWF

DWF is a leading global provider of integrated legal and business services. With its origins in the North West of England, it has a long established reputation of working with public bodies, large employers and strategic service providers across the north and midlands. For many years, we have worked with regional and local authorities as well as central government bodies on significant regeneration, infrastructure and carbon reduction projects across these regions. The business has recently worked with authorities to assess the challenges they face in tackling critical issues, from the future of the high street to climate change. At the Legal 500 UK Awards 2019, DWF was named Public Sector Law Firm of the Year (outside London) and is recognised by the Legal 500 as a tier one business for local government in the North West.

With such strong ties to the north and midlands and with the majority of its UK employees working in the regions, DWF sees the levelling up of the UK as the most critical issue facing the Government today.     


click here to register for the webinar