Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – the business led private and public sector partnership responsible for driving economic growth and prosperity in Dorset – has released its twenty-year vision for growth.
Dorset LEP’s modern industrial vision is to double Dorset’s productivity and economic output to £35.6 billion over the next twenty years, generating 80,000 jobs, building around 78,000 new homes, and creating a local economy that is sustainable, innovative and inclusive.
Its new strategy document ‘Horizon 2038 – A Vision for Growth’ outlines the ways in which it aims to achieve this vision, demonstrating to the Government and investors what Dorset is capable of achieving if provided with the right level of funding and support.
The document concentrates on the foundations of productivity that offer the most potential for Dorset’s growth:
- Business support
- Skills and enterprise
- Connectivity and mobility
It also details the economic opportunities and ambition for Dorset’s key sectors:
- Clean growth
- Financial services and technology
- Health services and technology
- Rural economy
- Advanced manufacturing and engineering
Horizon 2038 also explains:
- Dorset is a county with tremendous opportunities. Its economy is currently home to well-known international companies as well as a multitude of fast growth local enterprises.
- Dorset is set to become the first area in a decade to undergo a unitarisation process which will create two strong unitary authorities covering Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and the wider Dorset county. Furthermore, a new city by the sea – Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – is being created that is comparative in size to Bristol. As a region with extensive rural, coastal and maritime areas, the natural environment is a key driver which supports a thriving economy in both rural and urban districts.
- However, there are challenges ahead. While Dorset is making a £17 billion contribution to the UK economy, its economic productivity is £2.5 billion below the national average, and the productivity gap has widened in recent years. Dorset LEP and its partners are helping to build a strong Dorset identity and promote Dorset’s successes and substantial economic contribution to UK plc, reinforcing the county’s role as a serious business contender.
Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset LEP said: “Dorset is proud of its £17 billion contribution to the UK economy and its robust employment and business survival rates. However, like many parts of the UK, our productivity rate lags behind the national average and we face renewed global competition in a post-Brexit economy. Despite this, our economy is resilient, growing, and has the potential to deliver greater prosperity for our county and beyond for generations to come.
“Horizon 2038 is our unique, sustainable strategy to realise our major ambitions for Dorset’s economic growth over the next 20 years. Within the document we have outlined Dorset’s economic successes, captured the ambition for the county, outlined the steps we will take in order to reach our vision and revealed our requests of Central Government to achieve our twenty-year ambitions.”
Lorna Carver, Dorset LEP Director said: “Horizon 2038 tells a compelling story of Dorset’s economic strengths, whilst highlighting the opportunities available to boost our productivity and contribution to UK plc. Moreover, we spell out the specific challenges our unique region faces in the delivery of our vision and the sustainability of our growth.
“Horizon 2038 is a visionary document, looking ahead twenty years from 2018 to 2038.It is designed to address our immediate priorities over the next five years in order to secure long-term economic growth. The document provides the necessary framework to develop successful funding bids and seize on funding opportunities arising from the Government’s Industrial Strategy and elsewhere.”
Horizon 2038 builds on the success of the LEP’s previous Strategic Economic Plan, which oversaw the procurement of £98 million in Government Growth Deals and £79.4 million EU funding. It provides an important stepping stone towards the formation of a Local Industrial Strategy for Dorset
The strategy complements Dorset LEP’s growing body of evidence set out in its Statement of Intent, Dorset’s Economic Ambition, the Dorset productivity scorecard, and the Rural Productivity Commission Report. It is the culmination of strategic collaboration between the private and public sector and decision-making implemented by the Dorset LEP board and its sub-groups.