The Northern Agenda

🚢 From cul-de-sac to powerhouse, what does the future hold for Barrow?

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Episode notes

It's been described as the country's longest cul-de-sac, but is the town of Barrow-in-Furness the next powerhouse for the North? That's the vision set out by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, as he aims to help Barrow take advantage of its thriving shipyard and its status as a green energy hotspot.

But as high-skilled workers from across the world descend on Barrow, can it overcome the dire reputation of its town centre and its poor transport links, with just one major road going in and out? Rob Parsons looks at what the future holds for the place Bill Bryson described as 'just about the most out-on-a-limb, end-of-the-line place in England' with local Conservative MP Simon Fell.

This week the podcast also explores a vital issue for any economy in the year 2023. As developing technology and digital industries - from AI to cyber-security - grow in importance, do people in the North have the skills and opportunities to take the jobs they create? And furthermore, why is that tens of thousands of people are simply too poor to even be able to connect to the internet.

Rob speaks to an expert guest in the form of Mo Isap, the Salford-based founder of the technology firm In4Group who is responsible for the UK's largest technology skills bootcamp programme.


Don't forget you can now watch the best interviews from The Northern Agenda podcast on YouTube - check out our playlist at


The Northern Agenda is a Laudable production for Reach. It is presented by Rob Parsons, and produced by Daniel J. McLaughlin.

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