The work of the Northern Economic Futures Commission (NEFC) is focused on how to grow the economy of the North of England, to the benefit of the whole of the UK. In part this requires a focus on what the North can do for itself based on the powers, resources and assets already held in the region. But any argument about the decentralisation of power and decision-making inevitably leads into a conversation about governance and leadership in the North.

This briefing paper begins by making the case for why governance matters for economic development. It surveys the current landscape and poses a series of questions for the commission to consider in three key areas:

  1. governance at the city-regional level, and how this might evolve
  2. achieving a 'pan-northern' voice to represent and lead on wider regional issues
  3. how to develop and promote strong leadership in the North.

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