Greg Clark, the Cities Minister, was welcomed to the Heart of the South West on Friday 17 January when he visited Devonport South Yard to sign the Plymouth and Peninsula City Deal, and hear about the plans for economic growth across the area.
As part of the overall economic strategy for the South West, the City Deal will boost the area’s marine and advanced manufacturing sectors: creating over 10,000 permanent jobs by supporting 25,000 businesses through bringing £72m of private investment, set to rise to £266m, over the next fifteen years. The City Deal will benefit the marine sector, associated businesses and the general economy across the Peninsula.
The Heart of the South West’s proposals for growth are set out in a draft Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), submitted to Government by the Local Enterprise Partnership late last year. The Plymouth and Peninsula City Deal is just one of a number of opportunities for the area, which together have been identified as having the capacity to transform the local economy over the coming decade.
After visiting South Yard, Greg Clark and Baroness Kramer travelled to Exeter to give ministerial feedback on the Strategic Economic Plan proposals. The proposals describe how the LEP will capitalise on local assets to engineer economic growth, and the help sought from Government to enable the growth to happen, making it a ‘Growth Deal’. It also sets out the priorities for the economies of Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay – whilst at the same time recognising the wider South West and national economic context.
The opportunities are:
- Plymouth and Peninsula City Deal and the growth of our marine sector
- The plans for Hinkley power station, known as the ‘Hinkley Deal’
- Road, rail and digital connectivity improvements
- Expanding the knowledge and rural economies – through support for business innovation and growth.
Steve Hindley, new Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership said: “We appreciated the chance to talk to the Minister about our plans before we go out to formal consultation next month.
“Over the last few months, we have been talking to business, local authorities and other key stake holders to understand the priorities for the area. With such a tight timescale, we have welcomed the support to enable us to develop this plan.
“Each of these major opportunities draws together our three themes of People, Place and Business. Through them our area will attract significant and welcome inward investment whilst, at the same time, it will become more outward looking and globally focused.
“Through People we want to harness our area’s skills base, whilst tackling both youth unemployment and retention of graduates who have qualified in the South West. We will use concept of Place to increase accessibility, competitiveness and productivity of the Peninsula economy by significant improvements to transport links and investment into superfast broadband for all.
“Finally, our Business section will focus on improving business support through building on the Growth Acceleration and Investment Network (GAIN) and an improved Access to Finance platform. We want to improve local procurement and supply chains and attract investment, whilst boosting exports.
“The strength of our Partnership’s Plan lies in recognising the huge importance of growth and increased productivity for the area, whilst always keeping our foundations in the bedrock industries of our economy: tourism, food and farming, marine industries and social and health care. With help from the Government, we will create real and sustainable growth for all our communities”.