The Heart of the South West LEP welcomes the aims of the Industrial Strategy published today. It aims to make the most of the UK’s untapped potential, boost productivity and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK, and recognises the strong role LEPs play in driving local economic growth.
The Heart of the South West has a role to play in the contribution towards UK plc and we were pleased to see Industrial Strategy recognising the work that has already been done in our area to raise productivity. We will continue to work with government to increase prosperity through productivity and create more higher value jobs. This is central to the Productivity Strategy for the area that is out for consultation until 14 December at www.torbay.gov.uk/devolution
Today’s Industrial Strategy acknowledges that many areas outside the capital lag behind in productivity and this applies to HotSW, so our local plans are extremely important. The Government’s focus on the five foundations of productivity – innovation, people, infrastructure, places and the business environment – and the ‘Grand Challenges’ mirror the priorities and opportunities identified locally. We believe we are well placed to develop a local Industrial Strategy for our area and will be working closely with Government on this in the coming months.
It’s encouraging to see the Strategy addressing that other city regions around the country have already received a lot of focus. It indicates that other geographical regions now need to collaborate at scale to achieve policy benefits. It commends the Heart of the South West LEP for the joint Rural Productivity Commission Report that was produced in partnership with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Swindon and Wiltshire and Dorset LEPs to develop proposals for rural growth.
We’re pleased that the nuclear sector is recognised at being integral to increasing productivity and driving growth across the country, and that the Heart of the South West LEP is mentioned for its work with Cumbria on a collaborative proposal. The strategy recognises that a nuclear sector deal, which will be announced soon, could support a potential 100,000 jobs nationwide, and our LEP is playing a leading role in this.
HotSW LEP echoes the views of Lord Hutton, chair of the Nuclear Industry Council, in that a nuclear sector is an economic powerhouse providing highly skilled jobs and acting as a driver of regional growth. World class R&D puts the UK at the forefront of the waste and decommissioning agenda in a global market worth £100bn, £55bn in the South West alone.
As well as today’s Industrial Strategy, some of the measures announced in the budget last week were welcomed by HotSW LEP and offer opportunities for investment in our projects. For example, the focus on skills, STEM investment, R & D, transport and housing. HotSW LEP will be working with government to secure as much investment and strategy support for these interventions to take place in this area as possible.
Steve Hindley CBE DL, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP said: “Productivity is the key to increased prosperity, not just for the Heart of the South West but for the whole of the country.
“We have the potential in this area to increase productivity at a step-change rate, but we need the right level of investment in skills, infrastructure and innovation. This Industrial Strategy encourages us to work with government on specific measures to deliver our potential, so we’ll continue to make our case and put forward tangible and workable projects that help generate growth and prosperity for all.”