LEP anniversary shows its worth to the Solent area

HAPPY Doug Morrison
HAPPY Doug Morrison
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TOMORROW marks a year since the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership officially began, and in that time the group has attracted a projected £90m of investment.

The group is made up of volunteer business leaders, politicians and education heads from across the Solent region, who work together to encourage economic growth and attract funding to the area.

Doug Morrison, Solent LEP chairman, said: ‘When we launched, we were working from an outline proposal document developed by a shadow board with limited resource and, I think it’s fair to say, the role of LEPs in the new economic landscape was unclear.

‘One year into life at the Solent LEP provides an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved in our first year.

‘The combined value of the funding we have secured from government to date for the Solent is close to £29m.

‘This funding will create nearly 2,000 jobs and leverage in an estimated additional private sector investment of close to £60m to the Solent economy.

‘Our one-year anniversary also provides an opportunity to look to the future and towards some of the exciting projects we will be bringing forward in the coming years.

‘If all are progressed as planned, we have the potential to secure an additional £16m for the Solent to create over 2,000 further jobs and draw in over £50m worth of private sector investment.

‘We now have the opportunity to create an additional 4,000 jobs within the Solent by 2017 and we are well on our way to securing the original ambition of creating 10,000 new jobs by 2026.’

The Solent LEP has been praised by the Institution of Civil Engineers based in the south east for trying to improve the region’s infrastructure.

John Laverty, director of ICE South East, said: ‘There is clear recognition that investment in improving infrastructure is the key to economic success in this area – ICE South East England fully supports this point of view.

‘ICE South East England is keen to work with Solent LEP to ensure that we attract funding for infrastructure improvements which can then be delivered by civil engineers for the benefit of the whole local economy.’