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National role of South West takes centre stage at ‘Delivering for the UK’ conference

Importance to UK security and resilience in energy, defence and food in spotlight

A major conference focusing on the UK’s future prosperity is to be held in the South West.

Bringing together leading national and regional figures, business leaders and investors, the ‘Delivering for the UK’ conference will spotlight why the region matters in driving economic growth across the country, and the importance of its key sectors in energy, defence and food in powering national and international investment opportunities. 

The conference will also highlight how critical they are to the future prosperity and resilience of the UK, as global conflicts, food and energy production challenges, availability of vital raw materials and fluctuating markets impact economies, supply chains and societies around the world.

The Great South West Partnership is hosting the conference at Sandy Park in Exeter.

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Great South West Partnership, said: “We have the UK’s greatest array of clean energy production, matched with defence and marine capabilities that are the envy of the world, coupled with industry-leading food production and agricultural research centres, and world-leading expertise in environmental and climate science and biodiversity.

“These are fundamental sectors critical to the future security and prosperity of the UK, and to solving key global challenges. For that very reason, eyes are increasingly turning to the South West. This unique mix gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a pivotal role as the UK, and the world, shifts to a net zero economy, and strives for a more equitable and sustainable future.”

The Great South West’s economy is worth almost £65 billion per year – almost double the size of Greater Manchester or the West Midlands – with 128,000 businesses and £12.75 billion of exports in goods and services. The region has major strengths and expertise in marine, photonics, environmental science, nuclear, aerospace, advanced engineering, agritech, defence, space, manufacturing and food and drink production.

Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, is Chair of the Great South West All Party Parliamentary Group in Westminster and a member of the Great South West Board.

He said: “The ‘Delivering for the UK’ conference is an important opportunity to bring together senior national and regional players to showcase why the Great South West is key to the success of the UK, and to set out future opportunities for economic growth in vital global industries.

“We are home to the largest infrastructure project in Europe at Hinkley Point, Europe’s first horizontal launch spaceport, the UK’s first gigafactory hub, critical minerals including lithium, and the largest naval base in Western Europe. These developments and opportunities are underpinned by leading research and development capabilities across our universities and science parks.

“Focusing on what we can achieve together is essential to attract investment and encourage more businesses to the region. I look forward to the conference and its role in helping us continue on that journey.”

Tickets for the conference, 10-4.30pm on Friday September 13, are now available. National and regional business leaders, MPs, Government officials, university leaders and experts will be amongst the speakers and panellists taking part, alongside sponsors and exhibitors.

For sponsorship and exhibitor enquiries: 


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      David Ralph

      Chief Executive

      David Ralph started as Chief Executive of Heart of South West LEP at the beginning of June 2018. Previously, he had spent 5 years as CEO of the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP from 2013 where he oversaw the development of the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan and sector strategies, 3 Growth Deals with HM Government to deliver a £1billion capital investment programme, securing and implementing £200m ESIF programme, the Derby and Nottingham Enterprise Zone, the D2N2 Skills Deal and Time for Innovation programme, community fund and led the executive team to develop the HS2 East Midlands hub. He was also closely involved in the proposed North Midlands Devolution Deal and one of the key architects in establishing the Midlands Engine, chairing the officer steering group. Whilst in this role David was a NED of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, and Marketing NG, the Outer Estates Foundation and a Governor of Nottingham College and on the advisory Board of Nottingham Business School.

      Before the East Midlands, David was CEO of the Have Gateway Partnership working closely with local stakeholders including the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich and BT Adadastral Park across Suffolk and Essex and prior to that was Chief Exec of the Barton Hill New Deal for Communities programme in Bristol and the Nelm Development Trust in Norwich.

      David is a keen sailor, walker and trail runner.