Leading figures from business, local government, academia and the church took part in a public debate on ‘Newcastle’s Future as a Responsible City’ at Northumbria University on 25 April.
The debate is the latest in Northumbria University’s ‘Responsible Business Seminar Series’ run by Newcastle Business School in partnership with the North East Initiative on Business Ethics (NIBE).
The panel for the debate was made up of The Right Reverend Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle; Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council; Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Northumbrian Water and Prince of Wales North East Business Ambassador and Kevan Carrick, chairman of JK Property Consultants and NIBE founder member.
Lucy Winskell, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Northumbria University chaired the debate in the Great Hall at the University’s Sutherland Building in Newcastle.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Lucy said: “The pace and extent of political and economic change raise many questions for the UK’s major cities, including Newcastle. The Brexit vote and President Trump’s election tell us populism is on the rise while moves to devolve power from central government will see decisions taken closer to where they will have an effect.
“The purpose of our debate is to bring these issues to the fore and to begin a dialogue between various community leaders. Newcastle has a strong cultural identity as an open, outward looking and diverse city but how prepared is it for a post-Brexit world where neighbouring cities and regions are seeking autonomy from traditional centres of power? And can the city remain tolerant and compassionate while competing on the world stage or will it have to sacrifice these characteristics for economic good?
NIBE founder Kevan Carrick added: “As leaders it is critical we hold a mirror up to see whether Newcastle really is an inclusive and responsible city and look at how we can use the changing political situation to create a stronger, more resilient place to live, work and invest.
“With change comes opportunity and this debate looks at how we as a region are perceived externally and what we must do to make Newcastle a compelling place to do business if we are to become more financially independent and strengthen the economy.”
Established in May 2013 as an independent regional resource with an aspiration to become a focal point for good business behaviour, NIBE’s vision is a business community that acts ethically, treats its stakeholders fairly and delivers on its promises.