National Productivity Week 27th November 2023 | Visit Website

A diverse community of
leading experts, policymakers
and practitioners

The Institute’s key research themes
are led by ten academic partners
spread across the UK.

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.

We’re a UK-wide research
organisation exploring what
productivity means for business

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.


North West Productivity Forum

England’s North West region has more than seven million people and is made up of five distinct but interconnected sub regions: the two major cities and urban agglomerations that surround Manchester and Liverpool and the more rural regions of Lancashire and Cumbria to the North and Cheshire to the south. The region is home to more than 7 million people and is the third most populated region in the UK but in the middle range of regions in terms of of the level of productivity. However, there are marked inter-regional differences too with Cheshire East being  the 19th most productive of the UK’s 170 NUTS3 areas and North East Greater Manchester ranking 160th.

RPF logo for North West

The North West Productivity Forum is led by the University of Manchester. It is involved in the implementation of research insights, the design of practical business and policy interventions, and in providing input to the development of the Institute’s future research agenda.

Members include stakeholders from policy, community and business leaders from local, national and multinational enterprises.

Key Contacts

Barry Leahey

North West Forum Chair

Kieron Flanagan

Kieron Flanagan

North West Forum Lead
University of Manchester


Clive Memmott

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Damian Waters

Confederation of British Industry

David Hughes

ABB Group

Donna Edwards

Made Smarter Growth

Emma Degg

North West Business Leadership Team

Gary Young


Henri Murison

Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Jessica Bowles


Kate Forth

Tesco LTD

Murryam Anwar

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Sally Penni

Kenworthy’s Chambers

Mark Hughes

The Growth Company

Alan Harding

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Rick Holland

Innovate UK

Jen Rae

The NP11

The North West of England still bears the legacy of its rich industrial past. It retains, by UK standards, a large manufacturing sector with the highest productivity level of any UK region, although at 9% of jobs, it is less than half the size it was in the early 1980s. Many service sectors are now bigger employers, including retail, health and social care, business & professional services, and hospitality & tourism, which have generally lower productivity levels than in manufacturing. There are a range of new emerging clusters linked to leading edge R&D capabilities in sectors such as life sciences, chemicals, advanced materials, digital industries, and nuclear energy, but this has not yet translated into more broad-based prosperity.

Liverpool and Manchester, despite having concentrations of highly productive activity and knowledge assets, lack the scale and transport links to drive productivity across the region in the way that London does for the South East and the rest of the nation. The Greater Manchester region has led the way in city-region devolution with additional powers over transport, planning, housing, training, and policing and greater accountability since 2017, with an elected mayor. The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority covers six councils in the Liverpool metropolitan area. Find insights in productivity in the North West of England below.