Party conferences 2022

Each year, we organise panel events at the Labour and Conservative party conferences, offering expertise and evidence on pressing policy topics.

We have been running our conference programme for a number of years, bringing together panels of experts to discuss a wide range of pressing policy challenges at both Labour and Conservative conferences. This year’s line-up covers a range of topics including mental health, digital safety, health inequalities and more.

Click on the links below to see our panellists and find out more information. Recordings of our panels from 2021 can be accessed here.

Labour Party Conference – Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 September 2022

Covid's Children

Covid’s Children: How the pandemic has affected educational inequality, mental health and wellbeing for young people

Monday 26 September, 12:30 – 13:30 in Meeting Room 6, Jury’s Inn, 31 Keel Wharf, Liverpool L3 4FN

This event is in partnership with the Social Market Foundation.

Join the Social Market Foundation and Policy@Manchester to explore how we can deliver better mental health and wellbeing support in schools, and a fairer and more resilient education system for Britain’s young people.

Confirmed panellists so far include

  • James Kirkup, Director of the Social Market Foundation (Chair)
  • Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Shadow Minister for Mental Health and MP for Tooting
  • Dr Ola Demkowicz, Lecturer in Psychology of Education, The University of Manchester
  • Lynn Perry MBE, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s

Digital harms

Digital Harms: Is smart tech a threat to your privacy and security?

Tuesday 27 September, 10:00 – 11:00 in Meeting Room 1, Jury’s Inn, 31 Keel Wharf, Liverpool L3 4FN

Smart technology and new virtual worlds have become a feature of our increasingly complex, online habits. With the Online Safety Bill encouraging debate, we’ll discuss how policymakers can act to mitigate the threat of dangerous behaviour, while protecting freedom of expression and user privacy. 

Confirmed panellists so far include:

  • Dr Simon Kaye, Director of Policy, Reform (Chair)
  • Professor Emma Barrett, Professor of Psychology, Security & Trust, The University of Manchester
  • Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive, Internet Watch Foundation
  • Dr Emma Stone, Director of Evidence and Engagement, Good Things Foundation

Energy security

Energy security: Will accelerating renewables tackle the cost of living?

Tuesday 27 September, 13:00 – 14:00 in Meeting Room 1, Jury’s Inn, 31 Keel Wharf, Liverpool L3 4FN

Rising energy costs. Threats to gas supplies. A looming net zero deadline. Our panel will explore the impact of renewables on our energy security and what measures can be taken to help the immediate challenge for households and businesses facing rising bills. We’ll discuss if net zero has a cost and how a Labour government would commit to renewable energy.  

Panellists so far include:

  • Dr Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Chief Executive, The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (Chair)
  • Professor Matthew Paterson, Director of the Sustainable Consumption Institute, The University of Manchester
  • Emelia Quist, Head of Policy Research, Federation of Small Businesses
  • Asif Rehmanwala, CEO, Ecotricity
  • Adam Scorer, Chief Executive, National Energy Action
  • Dr Alan Whitehead, Shadow Energy Minister and MP for Southampton, Test

Future local economies

Future local economies: How research and development can boost skills, jobs and security in the UK's regions

Monday 26 September, 10:00 – 11:15 in Meeting Room 4A, ACC Liverpool L3 4FP

This event is in partnership with Dods.

Please note that this event will take place inside the secure zone and a conference pass will be required to attend.

Following the Labour Party’s impressive commitment of targeting 3% of GDP on R&D, this fringe event will explore how a regional approach to innovation and investment in research and development is key to national prosperity and will help us build strong and self-sufficient local economies.

Confirmed panellists so far include:

  • Jonn Elledge, Freelance Journalist (Chair)
  • Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
  • Matthew Fell, Chief Policy Director, CBI
  • Professor Richard Jones, Vice President for Regional Innovation and Civic Engagement, The University of Manchester
  • Cllr John Merry, Chair, Key Cities and Deputy City Mayor of Salford
  • Shreya Nanda, Economist, IPPR
  • Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for Science, Research and Innovation

Health inequalities

What is the impact of health inequalities on wellbeing and employment?

Monday 26 September, 14:30 – 15:30 at The Clore Studio, Tate Liverpool, Royal Albert Dock, L3 4BB

This event is in partnership with Centre for Cities.

Join Centre for Cities and Policy@Manchester for this panel discussion exploring the impact of health inequalities and wellbeing on productivity, how to effectively connect areas such as housing and education with health and employment, and what ‘levelling up’ health inequalities could mean for places with lower productivity.

Confirmed panellists so far include:

  • Andrew Carter, Chief Executive, Centre for Cities (Chair)
  • Professor Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health, Liverpool City Council
  • Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council
  • Alison McGovern, Shadow Minister for Employment and MP for Wirral South
  • Dr Luke Munford, Senior Lecturer in Health Economics, The University of Manchester

Tackling loneliness

Tackling loneliness: How can we improve access and quality of mental health care?

Tuesday 27 September, 11:30 – 12:30 in Meeting Room 1, Jury’s Inn, 31 Keel Wharf, Liverpool L3 4FN

Up to 25% of adults reported feelings of loneliness during the pandemic. We’re asking what a future Labour Government can do to prioritise mental health provision to combat it. Our panel of experts and policymakers will discuss the impact of chronic loneliness on our health and wellbeing, the effect of place and community, and what can be done to deliver more integrated care.  

Confirmed panellists so far include:

  • Zoe Abrams, Executive Director of Communications and Engagement, British Red Cross (Chair)
  • Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Shadow Minister for Mental Health and MP for Tooting
  • Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
  • Su Moore, CEO, The Jo Cox Foundation
  • Professor Pamela Qualter, Professor of Education, The University of Manchester
  • Sarah Thwaites, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Liverpool

Private roundtable – Innovation Agenda

Private Breakfast Roundtable – ‘The Innovation Agenda’

Monday 26 September, 08.00 – 09.00am

By invitation only. 

Conservative Party Conference - Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 October 2022

Private roundtable – Innovation Agenda

Private Breakfast Roundtable – ‘The Innovation Agenda’

Monday 3 October, 08.00 – 09.00am

By invitation only. 

Future local economies

Future local economies: How research and development can boost skills, jobs and security in the UK's regions

Monday 3 October, 10:00 – 11:15 in Meeting Room 10B, ICC Birmingham B1 2EA

This event is in partnership with Dods.

Please note that this event will take place inside the secure zone and a conference pass will be required to attend. 

Following the government's commitment to increasing the overall R&D density of the UK economy from the current value of 1.7% of GDP, this fringe event will explore how a regional approach to innovation and investment in research and development is key to national prosperity and will help us build strong and self-sufficient local economies.

Confirmed panellists so far include:

  • Kevin Schofield, Political Editor, Huffpost UK (Chair)
  • Syma Cullsay-Aldridge, Chief Campaigns Director, CBI
  • Professor Richard Jones, Vice President for Regional Innovation and Civic Engagement, The University of Manchester
  • Robin Millar, MP for Aberconwy
  • Rt Hon Lord Willetts

Digital harms

Digital harms: Is smart tech a threat to your privacy and security?

Monday 3 October, 11:30 – 12:30 in Wedgewood Suite, Novotel, 70 Broad St, Birmingham B1 2HT

Smart technology and new virtual worlds have become a feature of our increasingly complex, online habits. With the Online Safety Bill encouraging debate, we’ll discuss how policymakers can act to mitigate the threat of dangerous behaviour, while protecting freedom of expression and user privacy. 

Confirmed panellists so far include:

  • Dr Simon Kaye, Director of Policy, Reform (Chair)
  • Professor Emma Barrett, Professor of Psychology, Security & Trust, The University of Manchester
  • Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive, Internet Watch Foundation
  • Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
  • Helen Milner OBE, Group Chief Executive, Good Things Foundation
  • Lord Vaizey of Didcot 

Building a green wall

Building a green wall: Can renewables catalyse levelling up and tackle the cost of living?

Monday 3 October, 13:00 – 14:00 in the Wedgewood Suite, Novotel, 70 Broad St, Birmingham B1 2HT

Levelling up should improve standards of living across the country. But can it address cost-of-living challenges? Our panel will explore how committing to renewables can power jobs, growth and impact rising energy bills. We’ll ask if decarbonisation is working and if our drive to net zero can deliver long-term energy security.  

Confirmed panellists so far include:

  • Akash Paun, Senior Fellow, Institute for Government (Chair)
  • Ben Houchen, Mayor of Tees Valley
  • Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist, Confederation of British Industry
  • Professor Matthew Paterson, Director of the Sustainable Consumption Institute, The University of Manchester
  • Asif Rehmanwala, CEO, Ecotricity

Tackling loneliness

Tackling loneliness: Can better mental health care make us happier and more productive?

Monday 3 October, 14:30 – 15:30 at the Wedgewood Suite, Novotel, 70 Broad St, Birmingham B1 2HT

Loneliness costs the UK up to £2.5 billion each year through lost productivity. Our panel of experts and policymakers will discuss the economic case for better and more integrated mental health care, the effect of place and community on isolation and how combating loneliness can improve success at school and the workplace.  

Confirmed panellists so far include:

  • Dr Aveek Bhattacharya, Chief Economist, Social Market Foundation (Chair)
  • Zoe Abrams, Executive Director of Communications and Engagement, British Red Cross
  • James Evans, Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing and MS for Brecon and Radnorshire
  • Su Moore, CEO, The Jo Cox Foundation
  • Professor Pamela Qualter, Professor of Education, The University of Manchester
  • Matt Vickers, Officer for Tackling Loneliness and Connected Communities APPG and MP for Stockton South

Private roundtable – Drug Law Reform

Veterans, patients, and care: How drug law reform can back British mental health strategy

Tuesday 4 October, 08.00 – 09.00am

By invitation only. 

Health inequalities

How do we level up health inequalities across the UK?

Tuesday 4 October, 11:00 – 12:00 in Room LOB 103, Birmingham Rep, 6 Centenary Sq, B1 2EP

This event is in partnership with Centre for Cities.

Join us to explore the impact of health inequalities on productivity, what needs to happen to achieve the government’s aim of narrowing the gap in healthy life expectancy between regions and what impact reducing health inequality could have on places where productivity is ‘lagging’.

Confirmed panellists so far include:

  • Andrew Carter, Chief Executive, Centre for Cities (Chair)
  • Cllr Abi Brown, Leader of Stoke on Trent City Council
  • Liz Gaulton, Chief Officer Population Health and Inequalities, NHS Coventry & Warwickshire Integrated Care Board
  • Dr Luke Munford, Senior Lecturer in Health Economics, The University of Manchester

Covid's Children

Covid’s Children: How the pandemic has affected educational inequality, mental health and wellbeing for young people

Tuesday 4 October, 13:30 – 14:30 at Concerto, Hyatt Hotel, 2 Bridge St, Birmingham B1 2JZ

This event is in partnership with the Social Market Foundation.

Please note that this event will take place inside the secure zone and a conference pass will be required to attend.

Join the Social Market Foundation and Policy@Manchester to explore how we can deliver better mental health and wellbeing support in schools, and a fairer and more resilient education system for Britain’s young people.

Confirmed panellists so far include

  • Dr Aveek Bhattacharya, Chief Economist, Social Market Foundation (Chair)
  • Dr Ola Demkowicz, Lecturer in Psychology of Education, The University of Manchester
  • Robert Halfon, Chair of Education Select Committee and MP for Harlow
  • Lynn Perry MBE, Chief Executive, Barnardo’s