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Industrial Strategy: Building a Solent fit for the future

27 November 2017

The Solent LEP has welcomed the publication of the Industrial Strategy and Governments re-stated commitment to Local Enterprise Partnerships.

From next year, the Prime Minister will chair a biannual ‘Council of Local Enterprise Partnership Chairs’. This will provide an opportunity for Local Enterprise Partnership leaders to inform national policy decisions.

Alongside the strengthening of the LEPs role in shaping national policy, renewed emphasis has been placed on the LEPs role in driving Local Growth. Further to the National Industrial Strategy, Government will agree Local Industrial Strategies that build on local strengths and deliver on economic opportunities. The LEP will lead the development of a Local Industrial Strategy for the Solent area in 2018.

Gary Jeffries, Chairman of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

"The LEPs Strategic Economic Plan for the Solent area has played an integral role in our work to secure over £180m investment in our economy through the Solent Growth Deal to date and we are committed to building on this success by developing a Solent Industrial Strategy which responds to today's announcement, builds on our existing world-leading capability in areas such as Marine and Maritime and supports development of those areas where we have the potential to be a global force in the future. The Solent LEP and our local business, University and public sector community will play our part in agreeing this vision for the future of our economy and industries and, following today's announcement, we will also expect the Government to play their part and commit to working with us to deliver this vision through providing the investment needed from future Government funding opportunities - such as strengthening our intra-city connectivity - announced last week as part of the Autumn Budget."

Key investments announced as part of the Industrial Strategy focus on research and innovation excellence and business support.

Building on Science and Innovation Audits, Government are launching a new competitive £115m Strength in Places Fund to support areas to build on their science and innovation strengths and develop stronger local networks.

The fund will support collaborative programmes based on research and innovation excellence in places right across the UK which can demonstrate a strong impact on local productivity and enhance collaboration between universities, research organisations, businesses, local government and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The government sponsored Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) covering the Solent area revealed that the South of England – Innovation South, is the backbone of UK’s digital economy.

Sir Christopher Snowden, Solent LEP Board Director, said:

"The Innovation South SIA has provided a timely opportunity to showcase to Government the exceptional science, technology and innovation strengths and capability of the Solent, and wider south and south east regions of England, both within industry and academia. With new innovation funding becoming available through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, for example, this Audit places the area in a strong position to make a case for investment to drive economic growth through the industries and technologies of tomorrow."

The Government have also committed to ensuring all businesses have access to a local Growth Hub through providing continued funding to enable Growth Hubs to bring public and private sector partners together, continuing to build their reach, develop peer-to-peer networks, connect businesses to the best support available from the private and public sectors.

Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Executive of the Solent LEP, said:

"Our Growth Hub has become a vitally important part of the business support landscape. It has already provided guidance to more than 200 pre-start and start-up businesses, supported thousands of businesses through the local helpline in place and assisted in creating more than 400 jobs at those businesses accessing the service. The commitment to continuing to invest in Growth Hubs is extremely welcome and we look forward to engaging with Government in the coming months to agree how we can build on the work of our hub to date."

Details on the Industrial Strategy White Paper are available here

A copy of the Solent LEPs Autumn Budget Reaction is available here

The SIA report from Innovation South can be downloaded online here

Details on the work of the Solent Growth Hub and case studies of businesses supported can be found in Enterprise Solent, available here