Dorset LEP Industrial Strategy response

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has submitted its county-wide response to the Government’s new Industrial Strategy.

The response pulls together contributions from public and private sector organisations from across the county including businesses, local authorities and the county’s two leading universities; Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth. It has been endorsed by the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and the Leaders’ Growth Board, representing the nine local authorities in Dorset.

It provides evidence in response to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’ green paper. Published in January 2017, the paper sets out a vision to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country. 

Set strongly in the context of the LEP’s Strategic Economic Vision for Dorset, the submission focuses on four of the Strategy’s ten pillars deemed most relevant to the county:

  • Developing skills – the Dorset response welcomes the proposed new T-Levels but calls for improvement to a complex skills system, financial incentives to assist students taking up study for work in priority sectors and dedicated skills capital funding for Dorset’s Further Education colleges.
  • Investing in science research and innovation –  Dorset has significant potential for commercialising research. The Orthopaedic Research Institute (ORI) at Bournemouth University is pioneering research and development globally in the field of virtual reality training for joint replacements (hip, knee). Funding from Dorset LEP has enabled ORI to purchase the cutting edge equipment needed to become a global player.
  • Upgrading infrastructure – the county is at the forefront of ultrafast and 5G deployments and the Industrial Strategy is able to help accelerate this and position Dorset as major centre of excellence in digital connectivity. The submission welcomes investment in unlocking pinch-points on the rail line between Weymouth and London, as well as additional trains to and from the capital, but calls for consideration of investment in a “metro” light rail system to tackle congestion. It also suggests Government reviews the existing and past rail networks to establish where local infrastructure would benefit from re-opening old lines and stations.
  • Cultivating world leading sectors – the response embraces the challenge set out by the Industrial Strategy to put forward local proposals to transform and develop some of Dorset’s key sectors for growth, particularly in advanced engineering and manufacturing, financial services, creative and digital, Agri-tech, cyber security, and tourism.

Gordon Page, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Government’s modern Industrial Strategy offers a timely opportunity for Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership to use its unique relationship with the private and public sectors to spell out the opportunities for our economy to help drive and support the Government’s ambition for a more productive and evenly balanced economy.”

Ian Girling Chief Executive Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry said: “We fully support and embrace this response to the consultation. It is essential there is a clear focus on partnership between the public and private sectors in terms of economic development and we look forward to working with the Dorset LEP in taking this plan forward.” 

Download a copy of the Dorset submission here

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