Political leaders have their say on bid for 7,000 jobs in Portsmouth

An aerial view of Portsmouth with the Mountbatten Centre in view. Picture: Portsmouth City Council
An aerial view of Portsmouth with the Mountbatten Centre in view. Picture: Portsmouth City Council
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POLITICAL and business leaders have given their views on a plan to make the city prosperous for years to come.

Portsmouth City Council is drawing up a plan to bring in 7,000 jobs that could involved setting up an innovation quarter for marine and maritime firms.

As reported yesterday, experts have forecast low economic growth to 2036 if nothing is done to boost the city.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the council, said: ‘Economic growth isn't an end in itself.

READ MORE: ‘Bold’ vision to bring in 7,000 jobs to Portsmouth by 2036

‘It's a way of ensuring that all of our residents have the opportunity for a decent quality of life for themselves and for their children and their children’s children.’

Gary Jeffries, Solent Local Enterprise Partnership chairman, said it would use the document for its own local industrial strategy.

He said: ‘There is a need for immediate investment in our economy if we are to help the area achieve its potential and the Solent LEP has launched the Solent Prosperity Fund, which includes a range of funding packages to support job creation, safeguard existing jobs, increase profitability and help the economy to grow.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘As well new business ideas we must also progress the regeneration of parts of the city to provide a really great place to live and community and leisure facilities, and we must ensure we are listening to business.

‘Our small business in particular could do so much more with a bit more support, that is what I am asking the LEP to focus on.’

READ MORE: Latest business news in Portsmouth, Havant, Gosport and Fareham

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan, said: ‘Average earnings remain too low, we have a housing crisis stopping local families from getting a roof over their heads, our city’s high streets are on the brink, a shocking third of children are living in poverty, and our schools and colleges budgets are being cut and cut by central government.

‘The city desperately needs investment in infrastructure to ensure Portsmouth is competitive for the future and all communities have the opportunity to flourish. As MP, I will keep lobbying government for just that.’

An innovation quarter wold cluster similar businesses together as in Shoreditch in London, helping create a ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea'.

Mark Baulch, head of policy and representation at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce said: ‘Our members will agree with many of the statements in this document and we look forward to working with the council on the challenges identified in it, especially around transport.’

A University of Portsmouth spokeswoman, said the institution had been involved in a consultation for the strategy. She said: ‘We look forward to seeing the final version of the strategy and exploring with the council and other key local partners the ways in which the university’s civic and broader strategic aims complement and support the council's broader objectives for our fine city.’

:: Due to a technical error many of the quotes above were incorrectly omitted from story in Monday’s News on the council’s prosperity strategy.