As 2018 draws to a close, I’m delighted that the West of England is getting some early Christmas presents.
Earlier this month, Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announced £15 million for our growing aerospace sector. He chose our region to mark a year since the launch of the Industrial Strategy, and I had the chance to tell him more about our Local Industrial Strategy, which will help us to develop our vision for the continued success of the West of England. I also showed him around the Bristol Robotics Lab which brings together expertise from industry and our universities and clearly impressed the Secretary of State.
The following day, we also had news of £1.35 million to help our creative industries grow, by improving their access to expert knowledge and experience as well as supporting businesses through training and advice on getting investment. This is terrific news; our region is already recognised as a place where creativity thrives with Bristol soon to be home to one of Channel 4’s new creative hubs.
I’m also really excited about our new Love our High Streets project, which will see up to £10m spent to support high streets across our region. Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils will carry out pilot projects in each of their areas – including Bath, Bedminster, Kingswood and Midsomer Norton. This is a great opportunity for businesses and communities to work with our councils to explore how they can get additional funding, specialist expertise and the right support to revive their town centres – looking to the future for our high streets, which isn’t just about shops, but also about our businesses, community activities, services and homes.
Finally, may I take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I look forward to the opportunities that 2019 brings us all.