David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 LEP (pictured) – the private sector-led Partnership promoting economic and jobs growth in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – welcomed mention of the need to address the key issue of productivity, in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget today, but wanted to see more detail on practical steps in the coming Government announcement on the Industrial Strategy.
Positives in the Budget, for the LEP, were:
- Research and development – Extra £3.2billion to be invested in research and development nationally, with £400million in funding for electric vehicle charging points announced. This is a technology in which the D2N2 area is a leading force.
- Skills – An additional £20m for FE colleges to prepare for T(technical) level qualifications. D2N2 invests considerably in skills and training, with training of workers in the workplace a priority.
- Business Taxes –The VAT registration threshold of £85,000 to remain at that level, to help smaller businesses’ competitiveness.
Mr Ralph commented “One of the key challenges our economy, and the wider UK economy, faces is productivity. It was good to see an extension of the National Productivity Investment Fund, for a further year and to be given an extra £31million. We need to see more on what practical help will be provided for smaller businesses; along the lines of D2N2 activities, particularly through its EU funding, with programmes helping businesses to specifically address areas such as business competitiveness.
“We were told this would be a Budget about housing and Mr Hammond certainly spent time on this. He was right to say there is no ‘magic bullet’, and it was good to see a multi-pronged approach today to the question of building more and more affordable housing. We welcome the Government’s efforts particularly around giving greater local powers to address delays in housebuilding, and the increased funding to the Housing Infrastructure Fund. As a LEP, D2N2 is directly involved in efforts to make more and better housing available in its area, with set targets for this as part of our over-arching Strategic Economic Plan’.”
He added “We hope to see the Government’s Industrial Strategy provide additional opportunities, and powers, for our area to direct its own economic future.”
Media wanting further information about the D2N2 LEP can contact Sean Kirby, D2N2 Communications Manager, on 0115 9578749 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org