The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) yesterday (28 January) hosted its Annual Growth Conference to shape the agenda for driving productivity and growth in the Solent region in 2016.
The conference, chaired by ITV Meridian's political correspondent Phil Hornby, brought together 200 people from the region's business community and revealed successes from the area to date, including a £151.9m Local Growth Deal agreed with government, the establishment of a Solent Business Support Hub, implementation of a £24m Regional Growth Fund programme, the development and delivery of a £16.7m Growing Places revolving loan, among others.
The Solent LEP further proved its dedication to driving investment in the area with a visit from the Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse, James Wharton MP today.
James Wharton’s visit was hosted by Councillor Donna Jones, Solent LEP Local Authority Director and Leader of Portsmouth City Council, and included tours of Dunsbury Hill Farm and The Hard Interchange to see examples of successful transport investments. Both projects currently have construction underway and between them have unlocked 1,360 jobs and 68,534sq metres of employment floor space.
Cllr Donna Jones said:
It was fantastic to be able to show James around two sites where large investment is currently underway and on track to create numerous jobs for the local region. These schemes are crucial to improving the Solent and providing vital employment.
Driving productivity in the area is also a key focus for the Solent LEP as it launched its Annual Report this week, along with a Productivity and Growth Supplement. The supplement aims to assess the LEP’s progress against its growth and productivity targets and to start the process of engaging with the business community and partners on setting out an agenda which places the productivity challenge at its heart.
Gary Jeffries said:
We look forward to extending our engagement with stakeholders and partners into 2016 to test and inform our thinking and development around what we can do to boost productivity in the region.