Our dashboards


Our mission is raising productivity and ensuring prosperity for all. The area has long-standing structural challenges, as well as fantastic opportunities to address them.

Whilst productivity has grown slightly stronger in recent years, it’s not enough to close the ‘productivity gap’. A notable characteristic remains significant differences in performance across different parts of HotSW, with new data confirming the picture of underperformance in many rural and coastal towns.

Our economy dashboard analyses data across key issues including productivity, innovation, digital connectivity, business, and employment, to give a picture of the area’s economic performance and productivity, and inform priorities going forward.

The Heart of the South West has pledged to be a pioneer with its bold commitments to clean growth, and an ambition to place the HotSW area on a resilient pathway to net zero by the 2040s or sooner.

HotSW has made a number of positive changes but, in many instances, not enough to catch up with England and not nearly enough to meet wider zero carbon targets.

These indicators suggest that a major shift in pace and scale is required if climate emergency targets and aspirations for clean growth are to be met. Our Clean Growth dashboard sets out the key roles the area can play to drive better performance, including CO2 emissions, energy production, transport, and energy consumption.

There are a number of meta trends that will drive systemic change across the economy and society: the climate and nature crises, population growth, faster technological change; global power shifts and increasing inequality.

With most future trends it is impossible to predict exactly what changes will happen or  how they will change the local economy. Nevertheless, it is important to understand drivers of change and how they might disrupt some industries and create opportunities for others. The trends will often give a good indication of what will be important over the next 10 years and how the local economy will need to change.

Our Future Growth dashboard sets out key risks facing the Heart of the South West over the next 10 years, new technologies, the jobs of the future, and forecasted economic and financial indicators.

The Heart of the South West recognises that inclusivity means enabling as many people as possible to both contribute and benefit from economic growth. It seeks to address the social and spatial challenges that affect the region with regard to inclusion.

As with most other areas, the Heart of the South West still has significant inequalities in life outcomes across its population. Until differences in key outcomes, such as educational attainment, can be narrowed, these will continue to act as barriers to the aspiration of more inclusive growth. There also appears a geographical element which persists despite investment and intervention.

Our Inclusive Growth dashboard sets out key issues in inequality and inclusivity faced by the region, and changes in the last few years.

Our Cost of Living dashboard looks at the local and wider factors driving this, and the impact on households and businesses in the South West and UK.

The dashboard uses a range of national, international and regional data and shows that the impact of the cost of living crisis is felt unequally across the population and across different geographies. The poorest communities are hit hardest as, generally, they spend a greater proportion of their income on key costs such as housing, energy and water – with these prices highly volatile and rising fast. Within the Heart of the South West, many rural areas are affected by the increased cost of fuel for transport and heating homes.

Hinkley Point C is the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in over 20 years and represents one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects. The power station will provide low-carbon electricity for around 6 million homes whilst the construction is forecast to create 25,000 employment opportunities and train over 1,000 apprentices. Over £5 billion has already been spent directly with South West businesses and direct investment into skills and training facilities is hoped to deliver a lasting legacy.

This dashboard considers the wider impacts of the project across Somerset and the wider Heart of the South West area.

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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.