An economic roadmap to drive a £45 billion uplift to the south west economy has been formally presented to the Government.
The Great South West prospectus sets out how the area spanning Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the Heart of the South West (Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay) and Dorset aims to become the latest growth alliance to rebalance the UK economy, alongside the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse.
Yesterday (Jan 22), a delegation comprising business leaders, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), MPs and local authorities presented Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry MP, with the growth prospectus and briefed him on ambitions to deliver £45 billion of economic benefit and 190,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.
Berry said: “This Government is committed to levelling up every part of the country and giving people the opportunities to unlock their full potential wherever they live.
“We’re already investing over £415 million from our Local Growth Fund in exciting and innovative projects across the south west like Spaceport Cornwall, the Somerset Innovation Centre and the Port of Poole.
“I am looking forward to working with local leaders to explore how we build on this investment and the many strengths of this region to create thousands of jobs, boost business and grow the economy so people across the south west can benefit for generations to come.”
At the heart of the Great South West growth prospectus is the ambition to make the area the cleanest economy in England and the first to be net zero carbon.
Its focus is on creating world-leading growth in the ‘green’ and ‘blue’ economies, backed by a wealth of natural assets on land and sea, groundbreaking companies and research expertise.
Formal submission of the prospectus follows a Downing Street summit in December between Great South West partners and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said at the time: “The south west campaign is a great one and your region is an absolute priority to me. So, I can assure you that we want to support and champion everything you do.”
Mark Duddridge, chair of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “We have set out to the Minister how by working together we can unlock our region’s huge potential to be the UK’s world leader in clean growth. That plays to the strengths and ambitions of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, but we are at a critical point where the support of Government is required to help us realise our shared vision.”
Councillor Julian German, Leader of Cornwall Council, added: “The south west is made up of many different and distinct places, but by working together like this we have shown that we are a powerful region that is prepared to speak with one voice and do what is needed to boost the local economy.
“I will continue to press the Government to ensure that Cornwall Council gets the funding that we need to protect and enhance vital services for our residents. By coming together as the Great South West, we have proven that our ambition for our communities transcends boundaries.”
The Great South West prospectus sets out how, with Government support, the Great South West can be a test bed for new technologies to accelerate the move to a greener, more prosperous economy, and tackle shared challenges like poor connectivity, an ageing population, poor productivity and climate change.
To download a copy of the Great South West prospectus click here.