The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, is being urged to back the Great South West in the Budget and help kick start ambitious plans to create the UK’s first clean energy powerhouse.
A powerful alliance of the region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships, business leaders, local government, universities and colleges have written a joint letter to Mr Javid calling for official Government recognition of the Great South West in the Budget and an initial £2 million of pump priming investment.
The Great South West alliance is aiming to deliver a massive £45 billion boost to the region’s economy and create 190,000 new jobs by 2035.
Great South West Chair Steve Hindley said: “With Government support, our ambition is to unlock the Great South West region’s huge potential to become the UK’s clean energy powerhouse, harnessing the unparalleled scale of our natural assets and the expertise of our world-leading research institutions.”
John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council and local government lead on the Great South West partnership added: “By everyone pulling together, we are forging a powerful alliance to fly the flag for the Great South West. We want to increase prosperity to our region and respond positively to climate change with a blueprint for clean energy growth. With the Government’s backing we can and will do it.”
The Great South West partners have set out their vision for the future in a prospectus for growth, “Securing Our Future”, which is backed by a cross-party alliance of the region’s MPs led by South West Devon MP, Sir Gary Streeter.
Sir Gary said: “We have so much innovation and leadership to offer in developing green and marine energy technologies, key elements to the journey to our nation’s net zero carbon commitment and to tackling climate change. Government funding to support our development will see these skills and resources unlocked to the benefit of the region and the country as a whole.”
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The Great South West has a set of challenges and opportunities to deliver a direct response to climate change and by working together with Government as a powerhouse region to boost growth in the UK economy. We therefore urge the Chancellor to #BacktheGreatSouthWest to get this project up and running and to reap the dividends for the whole of the country.”
Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a modest ask of a new Government that says it is committed to levelling up the UK and unleashing its potential. Never before has our region come together in such a coherent and energised way to make its case to Westminster. We urge the Chancellor to back the Great South West.”
Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, one of the Great South West LEP partners, added: “The Great South West has united the south west region, creating a clear voice and an ambitious vision for the future. We will focus on clean and sustainable growth, utilising our outstanding natural assets and thriving blue and green economies. With the government backing this Great South West proposal will bring economic, social and environmental benefits to our region.”
The letter to the Chancellor from the Great South West partnership is available here.
The letter to the Chancellor from the Great South West All-Party Parliamentary Group, urging for the same backing, is available here.
More information is available at the Great South West website: https://greatsouthwest.co.uk/