The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is setting out a ‘21st Century’ pitch to Government and business for future investment.
The LEP is publishing a prospectus focusing on 10 key sectors that can play a critical role in growing the economy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly now and in the future.
The document will be used to inform future discussions with Ministers and investors as the Government implements its Industrial Strategy. This sets out how it wants to build a Britain ‘fit for the future’, with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure to create better, higher paid jobs.
Called ’10 Opportunities’, the LEP’s prospectus showcases how technology is helping to drive new industries like space, e-health and marine energy, and can transform existing sectors like agriculture and mining.
It makes the case for the region as a test-bed for new ideas and policies, from the creation of a smart grid on the Isles of Scilly, to trialling a new VAT regime for tourism businesses, to being a pathfinder for the rural rollout of 5G mobile technology.
It calls for the creation of a Creative Enterprise Zone to capitalise on a sector that is already growing at twice the rate of the UK economy, and for an agri-food ‘sector deal’ that could make the whole of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly a Food Enterprise Zone offering investment and tax breaks to business.
LEP chairman Mark Duddridge said: “We’re pitching a 21st Century economy to Government and investors that shows off our strengths and sells opportunity.
“We should be the workplace of choice for fast-growing sectors like digital tech and creative industries. We can be a global resource for lithium and rare minerals – crucial to driving the tech and electric car revolution. We can pioneer new ways of generating clean energy from our granite and our seas. We can help feed the world sustainably through new agri-tech and satellite applications. And we can be home to the UK’s first spaceport, offering commercial space flight by 2020.
“These are just some of our opportunities and our message to Government and investors is clear: in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly you will find willing partners to drive business growth and transform the UK economy.”
Publication of the 10 Opportunities prospectus has been welcomed by business leaders.
Kim Conchie, Chief Executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Cornwall really is the number one place to live, work and play in the 21st Century and it’s vital that we showcase our key sectors to the wider world. The spread of industry and work opportunities that we offer are second to none and alongside a thriving business community with innovative and progressive people wanting to do things differently, it really is the most wonderful place.”
Tim Jones, Chairman of the Devon & Cornwall Business Council added: “Government regards LEPs as essential to driving local growth and the Industrial Strategy, so publication of this prospectus is very timely. It broadcasts that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are not only open for business, but have some of the best assets for growing a 21st Century economy in the country.”
The prospectus comes at a crucial time for English regions as the Government sets about reshaping its economic agenda for post-Brexit Britain in line with its Industrial Strategy, published in November.
England’s 38 LEPs will be expected to come up with their own regional Industrial Strategies to drive business growth and job creation in their areas. These will inform subsequent bids to the Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund which is designed to replace EU funding when it runs out in 2020.