Public Sector

Published: January 23, 2020 | Updated: January 23, 2020

Great South West partners, including Dorset, deliver investment roadmap to Westminster

Great South West business leaders, LEPs, local authorities and MPs at Westminster Hall with the Great South West prospectus, which was formally presented to Minister for Local Growth Rt Hon Jake Berry MP. Jim Stewart, Chair, Dorset LEP, is pictured back row, second from left.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

An economic roadmap to drive a £45bn uplift to the South West economy has been formally presented to the government.

The Great South West prospectus sets out how the area spanning Dorset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and the Heart of the South West (Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay) aims to become the latest growth alliance to rebalance the UK economy, alongside the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse.

Yesterday 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.

It also briefed him on ambitions to deliver £45bn of economic benefit and 190,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.

Mr 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.

Among the people attending yesterday’s meeting was Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset LEP.

He said: “Our alliance as the Great South West provides an opportunity to work at scale on common interests – connecting our rural communities, making the most of our natural assets to drive tourism and productivity and focusing on cleaner, smarter growth.

“We have presented a united proposal to the Minister highlighting the need for investment in digital technology and automation, and providing better access to training and education.

“This is pivotal to driving productivity in our region, particularly as we strive to become the leader for the green and blue economies in the UK.”

The Great South West prospectus sets out how, with Government support, the Great South West can be a test bed for new thinking and 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.

Specifically, it calls for:

  • Formal recognition of the Great South West as a growth alliance aimed at rebalancing the UK economy, with an identified Minister to link into Government.
  • £2 million over three years to build a business case for investment across a range of projects.
  • A Great South West Tourism Zone to help the industry become more productive, sustainable and adaptable.
  • An agreement to create a Rural Productivity Deal, addressing the specific needs of the rural economy.

To download a copy of the Great South West prospectus click here.