What is the Local Industrial Strategy?
The West of England Local Industrial Strategy will set out clear priorities to drive long-term growth in our regional economy. It will draw on the distinctive strengths of our people and the places across the West of England to deliver growth that is inclusive and clean.
The West of England Local Industrial Strategy is being developed jointly by our regional leaders, government, our business community and a wide range of regional organisations.
The strategy will cover the four authorities in our Local Enterprise Partnership: Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. All reports relating to the development of our Local Industrial Strategy can be downloaded on the ‘Documents’ sidebar.
West of England Local Industrial Strategy: Next steps
On 21 March we ran a workshop to explore the themes coming out of the Local Industrial Strategy evidence base, and to consider policy actions. Over 100 representatives from the business community, voluntary and community sector and public sector took part in the workshop which was facilitated by the Cabinet Office’s Policy Lab. A summary of the discussion can be found here.
We want to continue to involve people as this work develops and would welcome your ideas and feedback on the themes below. This is supported by the research we have carried out; a summary is available here.
Our strategy is now taking shape around the following four themes:
Driving inclusive growth: opportunities for employment and progression for all
We want to ensure our Local Industrial Strategy enables as many people as possible to contribute to and benefit from the opportunity that growth brings, improving living standards across the region.
Developing a regional employment and skills plan will be a key component of our strategy. This will focus on ensuring our residents and businesses have access to the right support and skills training to help them reach their potential. It will cover basic skills to make people work-ready, as well as the digital, creative and technical skills that are increasingly in demand. Ideas from the Policy Lab event – such as the importance of a diverse, accessible, life-long education and skills system – will be taken forward in this plan, and will help us to ensure that we develop clear learning pathways and retain strong talent pools.
Helping all our businesses increase productivity: supporting businesses to grow
The importance of supporting firms in all sectors across the region to increase their productivity comes through strongly. We want to lift productivity through encouraging the adoption of modern practices and ensuring businesses with high growth potential have access to what they need.
We recognise that improving management and leadership and investing in staff not only increases the productivity of businesses but also ensures better jobs for employees. We are exploring how to support access to finance and working space, and how to help small firms build links with more established businesses and networks. Combining networking and business advice with showcasing of technology will help to embed good practice.
We will tailor our approach to business support, segmenting and refocusing our Growth Hub offer. Promoting international trade and investment will also be key to ensuring that our region makes the most of growth opportunities.
Fostering innovation: from research through to commercialisation
We want to cement the position of the West of England, both nationally and internationally, as a place of innovation. We will build on assets such as the National Composites Centre, Bristol Robotics Lab, and the research and development expertise we have within our four universities and across businesses.
Building on the region’s ability to innovate through collaboration, we are looking at ways to increase investment to support this. We want to develop a platform for testing responses to society’s Grand Challenges, and to create a centre for innovation that acts as a focal point, bringing together researchers, businesses, and residents. Ideas and contributions from the Policy Lab event – such as an “innovation nexus” – will help to shape this work.
Investing in infrastructure and housing
Investing in delivering the Joint Spatial Plan and the enabling infrastructure identified in the Joint Local Transport Plan is fundamental to ensuring our region can address fundamental challenges of congestion, affordable housing and environmental impact.
As we invest in this infrastructure, we want to test new and innovative transport systems and house building methods. We can raise the standard of our public services while learning from elsewhere and tackling delivery challenges.
Achieving clean growth will increase our productivity, boost earning power and help protect the climate and environment upon which we and future generations depend.
In the West of England, we have reduced our carbon emissions by 30 per cent since 2005, through local renewable energy generation, insulating our homes and reductions in fossil fuel generation. Over the same period our economy has grown by 30 percent, demonstrating that economic growth can go hand-in-hand with action to decarbonise.
We will continue to work up proposals under each of these headings. If you have any feedback on this approach, we would appreciate your comments being submitted in the form below.