Strategic plan for region's growth
A plan that outlines how the West of England is going to stimulate economic growth in the next six years is being developed.
The 'Strategic Economic Plan' will be submitted to the Government on March 31st 2014, who will then decide how much money they will award the LEP from their £2 billion a year Local Growth Fund.
Between December and January, the LEP will run a period of public consultation, sharing the draft plan for anyone in the region who is interested to submit comments on.
To develop the draft plan for consultation, the West of England LEP has been working on it since April 2013 with business representatives and the four local authorities.
All 39 LEPs around the country have been tasked with creating a Strategic Economic Plan. Whilst it is up to each individual LEP to determine what goes in it, it should detail the drivers and barriers to growth in the region and identify the interventions needed to make it happen.
The West of England's plan will be ambitious, with an indicative programme pitched at around £350-480 million over the lifetime of the plan (£70-95 million 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 & digital media; finance & professional services.
These sectors demonstrate the greatest potential to create GVA (gross value added) and jobs, as well as generating multiplier effects in other areas.
In addition, four drivers of growth have been identified: skills & people; place & infrastructure; investment & promotion; business support (including SMEs). This strategy has been endorsed by the joint SEP/EU SIF Board and the LEP Board.
The Local Growth Fund is just one of the investment options available to LEPs. They will need to draw on a range of resources to fund the priorities identified in their SEP, including private sector funding, local authority funding, match funding from partners, as well as the EU Structural and Investment Fund, which has already been allocated to LEPS. The West of England LEP has been awarded £59 million from the EU SIF.
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.