Improving access to growth finance, greater powers for regions to determine their own economic destiny and all communities sharing success were among the ‘asks’ businesses expressed, through a D2N2 LEP consultation on the Government’s new Industrial Strategy.
A UK-wide consultation on the Government’s Building our Industrial Strategy green paper – which outlined ten key ‘pillars’ including skills building, upgrading infrastructure and investing in science to drive economic growth – ended this week (April 17). To read an online copy of the Strategy click HERE.
D2N2 – the private sector-led partnership which promotes economic and jobs growth in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – and its D2N2 Growth Hub, which supports small and medium-sized enterprises, held its own consultation on the Strategy.
D2N2 consulted widely with its business and other partners including through outside events, workshops and other activities. It also consulted with those in its eight key commercial sectors, to gauge what those in its area thought was most needed.
Area businesses were asked what they thought was important for business growth, whether they thought the Government’s Industrial Strategy had the right areas of focus, whether its ‘ten pillars’ were the right ones to drive the D2N2 area economy forward and what specific assistance was needed to enable the local economy to grow?
D2N2’s response to the Industrial Strategy has now been submitted to Government. A copy of the response can be read on the D2N2 LEP website at www.d2n2lep.org/growth/
It says the LEP welcomes a whole government approach to the Industrial Strategy, and the vision of:
- making an economy which works for everyone;
- closing our regional productivity gap and supporting a workforce with the skills businesses need;
- reconsidering the approach to funding to deliver the Industrial Strategy, in light of the end of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) – or EU funding – following the planned exit from the European Union;
- alignment of funds to promote businesses and growth and employment, skills and inclusion, in a new, more devolved way.
To make the Industrial Strategy a reality businesses told the D2N2 LEP consultation the following would be needed:
More fiscal devolution, to allow local leaders to work with communities and businesses, to target investment to unlock and accelerate growth, including –
- Devolving the commissioning of skills provision to local partnerships, such as the D2N2 LEP, which combine local accountability with a strong business voice.
- Enabling local partnerships to implement innovative local financing solutions; such as an expanded Enterprise Zone programme, capital investment allowances, fare bonds, tax incremental financing and a free trade zone.
- Providing enhanced financial support to local partnerships to develop their key market and sector strengths; including extending incentives for the Nottingham and Derby Enterprise Zone to 2021, and supporting the development of the manufacturing supply chain.
Building a place-based institutional capacity for D2N2 partners to support businesses, industries and the wider economy to maximise growth opportunities, including –
- Supporting the delivery of the East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy, including the establishment of a Delivery Vehicle to promote implementation of the development and connectivity.
- Resourcing local Growth Hubs to build stronger alignments with the Department for International Trade, HM Revenue & Customs and other key support agencies for business growth, increased exports and improved productivity; ensuring simple and joined up access for businesses.
Identifying and delivering proposals for establishing test areas for rural 5G – the fifth, or next, generation of UK mobile network technology, to include faster download speeds and enhanced coverage – in key locations, to be at the forefront of the next wave of digital technology.
Ensuring that the Industrial Strategy does not operate in isolation, but takes account of quality of life and national policies.
David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our strong networks across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire and beyond meant D2N2 was well placed to collate the views of businesses in its area on the Industrial Strategy, and ensure Government heard them.
“Many of the ‘ten pillars’ the Strategy lists are ones which D2N2 is already carrying through, but it was important that business and other communities could comment on whether they felt the national approach outlined answered this region’s needs. I’d like to thank everyone who took part in our consultation.”
A white paper on the Industrial Strategy is due to be produced later this year (2017), and further consulted on before being considered by Parliament.
Media wanting to know more about the D2N2 LEP can contact Sean Kirby, D2N2 Communications Manager, on 0115 957 8749 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org