News - 09 May 2024

Claire Ward, East Midlands Mayor, shares her thoughts on her new role and gears up for UKREiiF

PHOTO: Claire Ward, East Midlands Mayor

The UK’s premier economic development event, the UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF) is taking place this year from 21-23 May in Leeds.

UKREiiF aims to connect people, places and businesses to drive sustainable and inclusive investment – regenerating towns, cities and driving development – which in turn have a positive impact on communities, economic growth and prosperity.

Our newly elected East Midlands Mayor, Claire Ward, will be attending UKREiiF and will lead Team East Midlands to shine a spotlight on the huge potential of our region. One of the many events that Claire will be attending at UKREiiF is our interactive panel discussion on 22 May ‘Focus on the East Midlands: our Time is NOW’.

During the panel session, delegates will hear directly from Claire, our new East Midlands Mayor, and senior leaders from D2N2 LEP, East Midlands Freeport and the East Midlands Development Company, who will outline investment and development opportunities in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and explain how devolution is set to transform the East Midlands region.

We caught up with our new Mayor and invited her to share her thoughts on her new role and her plans for UKREiiF:

Claire said:

“It is an enormous honour to be elected as the very first East Midlands Mayor and I am delighted to have the opportunity to share some first thoughts here about the future we face together as we work to make this region the best place in the country to live, work and learn.

I am so grateful to the people of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire who grasped the opportunity on 2 May to vote for a new Mayor for the region as we take decision-making out of the hands of strangers in Whitehall and bring them closer to home through our devolution deal.

Over the past six months, I’ve talked to residents, business owners and community leaders who are frustrated by some of obstacles they face in delivering success.

Like me, though, they know that our region has an incredible amount to offer. We have world-leading manufacturers based here, a talented workforce across many sectors and we’re home to some world-beating tourist destinations from the Peak District to Sherwood Forest.

There’s a real will and determination to work together to tackle these challenges across the political divide and make this a better place.

The £4 billion of government funding on the table for us is just the start; we aim to attract more investment by making things happen and turning round historic under-investment in the East Midlands so the regional economy is stronger and better for local residents. We consistently get below the UK average public spending per head – devolution will begin to change that.

The spirit of partnership working that brought us to this point will continue. We have many partners, not just in the public sector, but also universities, businesses, voluntary sector, national parks and other drivers of economic growth like our Freeport, Development Company and the Midlands Engine. They have all played their part in our story so far and will continue to do so. Collaboration and teamwork is in my DNA and being part of the team that will drive change for the better feels like both an enormous challenge and a massive privilege.

I’ll be a member of the great team banging the drum for the region at the high profile national economic development event, the UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF). We’ll be showcasing why it makes so much sense to invest here and highlighting some of the great investment opportunities across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

I’m looking forward to taking part in the panel session, meeting investors and developers over a lunch reception, speaking at the East Midlands Hydrogen reception and launching the EMCCA digital investment prospectus that highlights our key investable propositions here.

I’ll be unashamedly showing off all we have to offer and how I’ll be driving the work to make sure that across the region we’re better connected, better funded and better prepared for a future of opportunity, growth and hope.”


Panel details

Join our interactive panel session at UKREiiF to discuss how Team East Midlands is working together to unlock our £4bn investment opportunity and create a brighter future for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

Focus on the East Midlands: Our Time is NOW

DATE: Wednesday 22 May 2024

TIME: 14.15 – 15.15

LOCATION: Newsroom Stage, Royal Armouries, Leeds

Our panellists are:

Claire Ward, East Midlands Mayor

Elizabeth Fagan CBE, Chair D2N2 LEP

Nora Senior CBE, Chair, East Midlands Freeport

Sir Chris Haworth, Chair, East Midlands Development Company

The panel will be chaired by independent broadcaster Geeta Pendse

The panel is free to attend for individuals with a delegate pass for UKREiiF.

Book your place

East Midlands Devolution

Following the East Midlands devolution deal, agreed with Government ministers in 2022, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham will benefit from more control and more funding and now have a new combined authority covering their region – the East Midlands Combined County Authority that came into being at the end of February 2024.

The deal will improve the region’s economy and improve livelihoods for the region’s 2.2m residents. It will give the East Midlands the national voice it deserves, to champion major infrastructure and turn round historic under-investment in the East Midlands to benefit the regional economy, through the newly elected East Midlands Mayor.

D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) covers the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire region, convening the businesses, universities, colleges and local authorities in our region to drive low carbon, economic growth and productivity, skills & careers, inclusion and delivery excellence. The D2N2 LEP team and functions will transition into the East Midlands Combined County Authority during 2024.

For media enquiries, contact:

Nicola Swaney

Head of External Affairs, D2N2 LEP

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