fresh thinking for global britain


Policy North is an independent, cross party think tank with the mission to make North of England and the wider UK the best place in the world to live and do business by seizing the opportunities of a new global Britain. 

Policy North is made up of entrepreneurs and business leaders who are passionate about ensuring the North, and the wider UK, have a growing economy, a strong private sector, and are able to make the most of the opportunities that a new global Britain will have to offer. If we can deliver on growth and skills in the North, the whole of the UK will benefit. 

The heart of the Industrial Revolution, the North has a long history of driving national growth. It is home to over 15 million people and over 1 million private sector businesses. If the North were a country, it would have the same size economy as the whole of Belgium, accounting for 19% of total UK output.

The region produces 19% of UK goods exports, and is connected to the rest of the world through 7 international airports and 12 major ports. There are over 20 universities in the North, of which 4 are ranked in the top 100 universities globally.

Yet there is so much more untapped potential.

Policy North works to ensure that the North makes the most of new opportunities as part of a global Britain. 

"The gap between our capital city and our other cities and regions is one of the defining features of the UK economy. By working with businesses from across the country and the regions, in particular by promoting our regional cities, we can at last start to address the problem." - The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer

In its green paper, ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’, the government outlined 10 key pillars of focus to be discussed as part of a 12 week consultation period, inviting contributions from industries, businesses, local groups and workers across the North. 

Jeremy Middleton CBE was commissioned with our cofounder Jon Robert Aydon, to write the Policy North response to the consultation.

This response focuses on one of those ten pillars:Developing Skills

Download here:


We regularly publish contributions to our "Free Thinking" series from leading Northern Business leaders.


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The Team

Stephen Purvis


Hon. President:

David Harrison


Chief Executive:

Jon Robert Aydon



Alistair Balls CB


Communications Director:

Peter Bould


Media Enquiries:

Nick Wood, MIP:  +44 (0) 203 008 8147 -


Policy Director:

Callum Crozier

Policy North is also supported by a number of regional Business Advisory Boards and a Political Advisory Committee.


Stephen Purvis, Beng (Hons) llb(hons) ceng

Stephen is the founder and Chairman of SGP Technology Group, a successful group of technology and software businesses based in Newcastle.  He is an active technology investor, sitting as a Non-Executive Director with some of the North East’s most exciting companies.  He is directly involved with over 15 businesses in the North East and is passionate about supporting the continued growth of the North East economy.

His early career was spent as a Commissioned Officer in the Royal Navy, serving at sea as a Warfare Officer and latterly as a fixed-wing and rotary pilot in the Fleet Air Arm.  He saw operational service in Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Northern Arabian Gulf.

Stephen is a passionate social justice campaigner and supports the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in London.  He co-founded Tynedale Community Ventures, a catalyst social impact investment fund, with Guy Opperman MP with the aim of accelerating stalled projects with high social impact.  He is a supporter of and investor in Tynedale Community Bank, supporting their aim of removing payday and unregulated lenders from our poorest and most vulnerable communities. Stephen lives in South Northumberland.

Jon Robert Aydon

Jon has extensive experience in political strategy and communications. After graduating from University in Newcastle, Jon worked for a national political party heading up engagement in the North East of England.

Jon also served as a Campaign Director in the 2015 General Election, helping to secure the second highest vote increase in the entire country out of 650 constituencies.

Latterly Jon served as Chief of Staff to Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury. Jon is also  the co-founder of a North East based digital communications agency.

Given Jon's own background in both politics and business, he is passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship in the North and connecting business leaders to the policy making process.

Jon Aydon