Dorset LEP reaction to Industrial Strategy

Dorset LEP welcomes the government’s new Industrial Strategy White Paper released this week, which aims to boost productivity and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK.

We are particularly pleased to see the strong emphasis on boosting local economies and the recognition of the crucial role that LEPs play in this.

With over 30,000 businesses, Dorset makes a significant contribution towards UK plc. Dorset LEP has already managed to secure £98.5 million in a Growth Deal for the county but the policies set out within this strategy, including increased support for LEPs, provides us with lots of opportunity to further boost Dorset’s economy.

The strategy is built around five foundations of productivity: Ideas, People, Infrastructure, Business environment and Places, all of which are relevant to Dorset.

The increased investment for research and development stands to benefit two of our universities, Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth, and the new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund provides opportunity to boost innovation across Dorset. 

Our participation in the Innovation South consortium has already confirmed that we are at forefront of advances in digital innovations across a wide range of industrial sectors that can transform and improve our daily lives.  The consortium is a good example of how LEPs, businesses and academia are already capitalising on the technological revolution, helping to address one of the grand challenges identified within the strategy.

The county is also at the forefront of ultrafast and 5G deployment and support for improved infrastructure can help accelerate this and position Dorset as a major centre of excellence in digital connectivity.

Skills shortage is a particular issue in Dorset therefore it is reassuring to see increased investment in this area, particularly through the introduction of more support for teaching STEM subjects and adult training. 

We are also pleased to see our role in the South West Rural Productivity Commission highlighted within the strategy. The commission was set up to hear and review evidence from a range of sources and stakeholders to frame the south west response to the Industrial Strategy. Rural enterprise is extremely important to Dorset’s economy and it is good to see national recognition and increased support for this sector.

Director of Dorset LEP Lorna Carver said: “The government has outlined commitment to further strengthening the role of LEPS and supporting the efforts of our business community, higher and further education and the public sector. With this additional backing we can now do more to engage with our partners and particularly the business community to develop collective responses in tackling some of the grand challenges laid out in the strategy.

“The Prime Minister’s new biannual ‘Council of LEP Chairs’ will provide an opportunity for us to inform national policy decisions, and we will use our discussions with businesses to form the basis for this.  In the meantime we look forward to leading on a localised Industrial Strategy for Dorset and to putting the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that this is very much a collaborative effort.”

Details of proposed engagement activity will be released in due course.

Dorset LEP coordinated the county-wide response to the Industrial Strategy Green Paper, pulling together contributions from public and private sector organisations from across the county including businesses, local authorities and two universities; Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth.  The submission is available to download here.

 

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