As The News throws its weight behind the bid from business and political leaders for £300m of government cash to ensure thousands of jobs and homes are created in the region, MPs have underlined the importance of the deal being secured.
A central plank of the LEP bid was informed by the Maritime Task Force – which was the first time we brought together the marine industries across the city to draw up a plan of what they need to take their business to the next level. This money would lever massive private sector investment and build capacity to do much more.
The Solent, with Portsmouth at its centre, is becoming the maritime heart of the UK. This money will help with that, as will the tax breaks from Portsmouth now having assisted area status.
We’ve got the momentum, now we need the money. As well as economic growth, jobs and status such ventures the America’s Cup bid brings to our city, we will benefit from investment in skills and the aspiration all this brings. I want the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and adventurers to be inspired when they look at Portsmouth. It is such an exciting time.
Redeveloping local infrastructure must be a key priority if we are to encourage investment from the private sector.
It is essential for us to make the city as appealing as possible and I am certain government funds aimed towards Portsmouth can be the catalyst to galvanising businesses, investors and entrepreneurs and helping to regenerate the local economy.
I would also encourage the redevelopment of our city centre and an increase in the construction of homes.
This will bring jobs and skills but crucially let the big companies know that Portsmouth is open for business. For too long the government has seen the south east as affluent and too often our problems are ignored. I fully support the LEP bid and call on political leaders in Portsmouth, the Ministers, Michael Fallon and The News to do all we can to seize this opportunity.
Despite falling unemployment and improved business confidence, there is more to do to secure the long-term economic future of our area.
The Solent LEP’s Economic Strategy sets out the challenges we face and the LEP’s bid for £300m shows how government and business can work together to meet those challenges, particularly the infrastructure and skills needed to support growth. More homes for local families and more job and wealth creation puts pressure on existing infrastructure, especially our roads. That’s why I welcome the bid for a contribution towards the infrastructure needed for Welborne and improvements along the A27, which will directly benefit my constituency. More money on training will also help ensure that we have the skills we need to create a high-wage economy around the Solent.
South Hampshire is one of the biggest economic development sites in the whole area.
This is a fantastic opportunity to invest in jobs for the future and to build on our excellent transport links.
This money is just what we need to improve the growth rate in our local economy.
Improving transport unblocks lots of other options.
That is why when we do our rigorous assessment of the best investments we can make, we find investment in transport is the best way ahead. It also makes new housing viable.
We also have beautiful countryside and I think this investment would enable people to get improved access to the countryside.
In terms of the growth deal, it’s the economic benefits that are taken into account, buit I think it will also help the countryside.
Right across the Solent LEP region there are projects that are of crucial importance for business and for housing development.
These two go hand in hand, and I welcome plans set out by the LEP in the Solent Strategic Economic Plan to unlock space for housing and employment floor space.
It is crucial that these infrastructure projects are built alongside new housing developments.
The development at north Whiteley requires one such link to allow traffic to move more easily without having to go on the M27.
Whiteley is a strategic growth area which will provide some 3,500 new homes and new employment opportunities.
The transport link will serve both the proposed growth area and the existing community of Whiteley which has only one main access into the town.
For the Gosport peninsula, the most significant part of the Solent LEP’s bid is the £90 million for road improvements.
Our transport infrastructure has been in desperate need of attention for decades and it’s an issue that is costing our area jobs, investment and economic prosperity.
This funding package would tackle a number of traffic complications on the roads between Gosport, Fareham and the M27, making a significant difference to the lives of long-suffering commuters who endure arduous journeys from the peninsula each day.
In recent years I have brought a string of ministers to our area to see for themselves the inadequacy of our roads and since the Solent LEP bid I have spoken at length to ministerial colleagues, urging them to put their support behind this pivotal investment package. It’s almost impossible to underestimate what a positive impact this bid could have.