Tuesday, October 22, 2013

News: LEP unveils plan to treble job growth

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"A City Region with a stronger and bigger private sector that can compete in national and global markets."

That's the overall vision for the Local Enterprise Partnership's (LEP) Growth Plan which has set an ambitious target of creating 70,000 new jobs in the Sheffield City Region (SCR) by 2023.

The LEP's goal of creating 70,000 jobs is more than treble the current number forecast by economists which have been analysing the economy in the Sheffield City Region. Consultant economists at Ekosgen, IPPR North and Oxford Economics examined growth rates in the Sheffield City Region and believe that the area is currently on course to create only 20,000 jobs in the next decade. The LEP believes that this is not enough and that significant action is required to treble this number.

The data used in the plan makes for difficult reading, but a lot of it relates to things we already know. The city region lags behind the national average in important measures such as GVA, business density, skill levels, attracting investment and high quality jobs. The region has also been over-reliant on the public sector for jobs growth.

To reach the ambitious jobs target, and that of increasing output per worker by 25% in real terms, the Growth Plan also identifies a number of objectives covering business support for existing firms, attracting more inward investment, developing the skills base and improving infrastructure.

James Newman, chairman of the SCR LEP, said: "The Sheffield City Region must face up to the overarching and pressing need for a stronger private sector.

"To achieve this, we must do more to attract investors to do business here, to increase our exports, to support high growth businesses to realise their growth potential and to provide businesses with the conditions they need to prosper."

The LEP will submit the draft Growth Plan to Government in December 2013. Detailed and specific policy recommendations will be set out in a follow-up Strategic Economic Plan.

The Government's new model of local economic growth centres around LEPs, a collaboration between businesses and the local authorities that are placed at the heart of growth in the regions. In response to the Heseltine Review, the Government have charged LEPs with putting together local growth plans that will be the basis on which the Government negotiates deals with each LEP for new levers, resources, funding and flexibility over them.

In the future, LEPs will then be able to bid into a single pot of funding to support their plans.

Newman added: "This important plan sets out plans to transform the Sheffield City Region economy.

"The plan will ask Government to hand over the powers and funds to enable the Sheffield City Region to make improvements to education, housing, transport and to create more and better jobs for the Sheffield City Region's 1.8 million residents."

Sheffield City Region LEP website

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