The Local Industrial Strategy will set out how the region can achieve its ambition for clean economic growth that benefits every resident.
Early analysis of the evidence base identifies four key issues to consider:
- Ensuring that growth is inclusive, with opportunities for employment and progression available for all.
- Creating the right environment for businesses to grow and for residents to progress their careers.
- Fostering innovative businesses from research through to commercialisation across sectors.
- Investing in the right infrastructure and housing for future growth.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “We were one of the first regions in the country chosen by Government to develop a Local Industrial Strategy. This recognises that we are perfectly placed to drive innovation and growth, setting the direction for our economy and pushing for future growth for the UK and the world.
“We need to harness our strengths and our innovative spirit, and develop a Local Industrial Strategy based on evidence that everyone recognises and buys into. This will help us make decisions on how we prioritise investment and activity.”
Chairman of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, Professor Steve West, said: “Our strategy will develop proposals to accelerate growth in our economy by strengthening productivity, ensuring the region creates high-quality, fairly-paid jobs for our residents. It will support our businesses to thrive and enable new ideas to flourish.”
The evidence base has been developed with local, regional and central government, the business community, universities and a wide range of organisations, and has included:
- Workshops looking at some of the ‘grand challenges’ as set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data; Clean Growth; Future of Mobility; Ageing society, including over 100 regional businesses, academics, and community groups.
- Economic research by WECA and local councils to understand the factors that contribute or constrain growth in the region, including skills, infrastructure, business support, and the strength of local places
- Investigations, led by business and university experts, into some of the highly innovative industries in which the West of England leads.
During March and April, WECA will work with regional businesses and organisations, as well as council partners, to clarify the priority issues and further develop the strategy.
Businesses from Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset are being encouraged to consider the evidence base and comment on the priority areas that are emerging. Reponses received will help identify areas for further analysis to inform the developing strategy.
The evidence base is a live document, and the Combined Authority will continue to gather information to deepen understanding of emerging issues to inform the strategy.
The strategy is expected to be published in summer 2019. Visit www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/ourstrategy