Cllr Steve Curran – Leader of London Borough of Hounslow

After first becoming a Councillor for the ward of Syon in 2010, Councillor Steve Curran went on to take on the leadership of the council in 2014. Before starting his career in local politics, Councillor Curran amassed 39 years of experience working within the NHS, including holding the position of Head of Facilities at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. Councillor Curran is dedicated to improving the lives of those who live in Hounslow. 

Henry Smith MP – Member of Parliament for Crawley, Conservative

Having first been elected as Member of Parliament for Crawley in 2010, Henry Smith has gone on to maintain a historic four terms within the constituency. Throughout his time in government he has served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government and the Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women & Equalities. In more recent times, he has adopted a new role as Chair of the Future of Aviation Group, a cross-party body which centres around the recovery of the aviation sector in the current climate under coronavirus pandemic economic and employment conditions.

Neil McCullough – Associate Director at Oxford Economics

Neil has been at Oxford Economics for 12 years, first working as Head of Local Forecasting, then as Associate Director from 2012. At Oxford Economics, Neil leads studies for public and private sector clients, which vary from economic strategy and economic impact to forecasting studies at local, city and regional level.

Robert Courts MP – Minister of State for Aviation

Robert Courts, a trained barrister, was elected to represent Witney as Member of Parliament for the first time in 2016. He replaced former Prime Minister David Cameron, and has represented the constituency ever since. In September 2020, Robert was appointed the post of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, responsible for aviation and maritime policy. In addition to this role, Courts serves on Parliament’s Transport Committee and is a council member of Air League, an aviation charity.

PANEL ONE:

Cllr Lily Bath – Deputy Leader of London Borough of Hounslow, Labour

Starting her political career by being elected to the ward of Heston West as a Councillor in 2006, Lily has since held various positions within the council. Having been appointed to the council’s cabinet where she held responsibility for Children’s Services and Adult Health, Lily is now Deputy Leader of the Council and like Councillor Curran, is dedicated to improving the lives of the people of Hounslow.

David Francis – Director at West London Alliance (WLA)

David is the Director of the West London Alliance (WLA), seven West London Boroughs working together on social and economic programmes to benefit residents, businesses, investors and visitors. Prior to joining the WLA in 2018, David was a senior civil servant at the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government, working on housing policy and programme delivery. 

PANEL TWO:

Mike Kane MP – Member of Parliament for Wythenshawe and Sale East, Shadow Minister for Aviation

First elected as Member of Parliament for Wythenshawe and Sale East in 2014, Mike Kane has held multiple posts throughout his political career including Shadow Minister for International Development from September 2015 and Shadow Minister for Schools from October 2016. He now holds the position of Shadow Minister for Aviation and Maritime, having been appointed in April 2020.

Anas Sarwar MSP – Member of Scottish Parliament for Glasgow

Elected to represent the constituency of Glasgow Central in 2010, Anas Sarwar has accomplished much throughout his political career, having been elected as deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party in 2011. Anas led an active role as leader of the Unite with Labour campaign in the run up to the 2014 independence referendum. In 2016, Anas was elected MSP for Glasgow in the Scottish Parliament Elections, a position which he still holds, where he was appointed Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health.

PANEL THREE

Peter O’Broin – Government and Campaigns Manager, UK & Ireland at IATA

With a background heavily involved in the European political scene, Peter O’Broin directed his attention to the aviation sector in 2015. Working for the Airport Operators Association (AOA) as Senior Policy Manager he played a lead role in ensuring the continued successful development of UK airports and aviation. In 2019, Peter took over the role of Government Affairs and Campaign Manager at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) where he remains today.

Gemma Marsh – Assistant Director of Skills, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Holding the position of Assistant Director of Skills on the GMCA’s Senior Leadership Team, Gemma leads on creating an integrated education, skills & work system to raise attainment, reduce unemployment, improve skill levels and guarantee high quality employer engagement across Greater Manchester.

Lola Grundmann – Account Director at WhiteHat GB

Lola has an academic background in Sustainable Development, as well as several years experience working in the Tech sector. She joined WhiteHat earlier this year and believes that social inclusion and diversity are the bedrock for building a more sustainable workforce and society. Working at WhiteHat, Lola is keen to promote social mobility and tangible opportunities for underprivileged people. 

CLOSING REMARKS:

Niall Bolger – Chief Executive at the London Borough of Hounslow

Niall is the Chief Executive of the London Borough of Hounslow. Appointed in 2018 after eight years as Chief Executive in nearby London Borough of Sutton. In addition to his Hounslow role, Niall is also Lead CEO for Skills and Employment for the West London Alliance. He has a background in planning, development, regeneration and environmental sustainability, and is a qualified town planner.