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Leading think tank for the North welcomes new Director

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Zoë Billingham is the new director of IPPR North, the leading think tank for the north of England.

She joins IPPR North from the Centre for Progressive Policy where she was co-director, jointly leading the think tank and advising national and local leaders on regional inequality.

Prior to this, Zoë worked in central government including as senior policy adviser at HM Treasury and as economic policy adviser to a deputy prime minister. She also has a background in finance.

Amid a cost of living crisis, and as the country awaits delivery of the levelling up agenda, Zoë has described this moment as “an important time to be bold in our collective vision for the North and regions like it, building a future that involves, works for, and is accountable to local people”. For 18 years, IPPR North, which is rooted in the region, has been a leading voice in setting this agenda – having used its research, policy and advocacy expertise to develop ambitious ideas such as the creation of Transport for the North.

Zoë lives in Liverpool and will lead the think tank whose staff are based across the region. Additionally, alongside her role at IPPR North, Zoë will continue in her role as a crook fellow at the University of Sheffield.

Director of IPPR North, Zoë Billingham said:

“I am excited to be taking up the helm at IPPR North and look forward to working with partners to drive progressive change across the North.

“We all know that people across the North of England have been trapped at the sharp end of choices made by distant decision-makers. Existing inequalities have been compounded by the pandemic and now the soaring cost of living. Our nation’s safety net is threadbare and is letting far too many people down.

It’s time to be even bolder than before. Reducing regional inequality is the concern of our whole country and to the benefit of everyone. Together, we need to build a vision that goes beyond the current conversation and fundamentally shifts the destiny of the North and regions like it. IPPR North will be at the forefront of making this happen”.

Executive director of IPPR, Carys Roberts said:

“I am delighted to announce Zoë’s appointment as director of IPPR North. At a time when IPPR North’s work – including bold ideas to level up the North and regions like it – couldn’t be more important, Zoë brings with her a wealth of expertise as well as policy and leadership experience.

At 18 years old, IPPR North has a strong track record of outstanding research and influence which has shaped both the North and our national policy conversation. Building on this important history, I am excited to see Zoë now lead the think tank into a bright and impactful future. I am also pleased to welcome her to the senior leadership team at IPPR – the UK’s preeminent progressive think tank”.

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