Have your say on our Strategic Economic Plan
A six week consultation was launched on December 16th on our Strategic Economic Plan. The draft plan has been developed by the WE LEP to help create sustainable economic growth and new jobs over the next six years and beyond. It will compete against all of England’s 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships for a share of the Government’s £2 billion growth fund.
Paul Wilson, chief executive of WE LEP said: “Our plan is based on extensive research and widespread participation and now we want to capture the wisdom of the crowd. The plan is focussed yet imaginative, ambitious yet deliverable and we want to make sure we are representing the dynamism of the region, so ideas and inputs are very welcome.
“It is a highly competitive process. A bold and clear vision is required – one that can deliver local people and the Government a good return on investment. We have chosen to consult on our plan, which many other LEPs are not doing, so we can demonstrate the sense of local ownership.”
The WE LEP began work on its draft Strategic Economic Plan in the late spring by conducting over 50 in-depth interviews. A SEP Board was established in the summer with four business leaders and four senior local authority officers. The Board has met every month to make decisions based on a variety of economic reports and on ideas to stimulate growth coming from the LEPs business sector working groups, and cross-cutting working groups. The final version will be submitted to government at the end of March.
The West of England’s plan is highly ambitious, with an indicative programme pitched in excess of £400 million over the lifetime of the plan (£70-95m a year). The economic strategy has identified five key growth areas as the focus for support and intervention. These are: low carbon; high tech; advance engineering/aerospace; creative and digital media; professional and legal services.
“These are the sectors which have the greatest potential to create economic growth, jobs, and to have positive knock-on effects on the rest of the economy,” said Paul Wilson. “But we also need to demonstrate that every job directly created, should also create or support additional jobs locally.
“Our proposals estimate that we can generate tens of thousands of jobs over the next six years and give the West of England a massive, sustainable economic boost that will benefit everyone.”
In addition, four drivers of growth have been identified as key areas that provide a platform for job creation: skills and people; place and infrastructure; investment and promotion; business support (including SMEs).
The plan is available online until Friday 24th January. Copies are also available in local libraries and anyone can comment on them.
LEPs are driving economic growth across an economic area. They provide a means for local authorities to work together with business in order to quicken the economic recovery.