Heart of the South West businesses consulted on area’s economic future

Businesses in Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay are being asked to help finalise the strategy for local economic growth and give their views on the area’s bid for a share of the government’s national £2 billion Single Local Growth Fund.

The plan outlines how public and private sector partners across the Heart of the South West will maximise economic growth, job creation and prosperity in the area from now until 2030.

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, the private and public sector partnership that has developed the strategy, will submit its final bid to government in March.

The Heart of the South West’s plan include proposals to increase the capacity and resilience of area’s main rail and road corridor – including the M5, A303, A38 and A30 – and improve mobile and digital connectivity through the roll-out of superfast broadband.  Increased business competitiveness, through enhanced business support services and better workforce skills, is also an area of focus.

The plan also outlines how the area should capitalise on a number of key opportunities including the construction of Hinkley Point C, the award of the Plymouth & Peninsula City Deal, the potential siting of the Met Office’s supercomputer in Exeter and the development of the area’s existing strength in environmental data analysis, aerospace and advanced manufacturing.

Chris Garcia, Chief Executive for the Heart of the South West LEP said: “We know there are a number of specific issues that are constraining growth in our area.  Better transport and infrastructure, accessible supply chains, better business support and improved broadband speeds are all needed if we are to fulfil our economic potential.

“Over the last year, we have been consulting with representatives from business, education and social enterprise to develop our draft plan and we’re continuing to seek their views to make sure we best reflect the needs of our area.”

Alongside the plan, the LEP has developed an EU Structural and Investment Funds Strategy (SIF), which was submitted to government last month and outlines how provisionally allocated EU funds for the HotSW area will be distributed for the period 2014-20.

Details of the Strategic Economic Plan and how business can feedback their views can be found by viewing the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP). The deadline for comments is 7 March 2014.

A business breakfast is also taking place – the event will take place on Thursday 13 March 2014 at the Exeter Golf and Country Club.