Skills, enterprise and space at the heart of recovery

Minister for Portsmouth Matthew Hancock speaking during the conference. Picture: Sarah Standing (143321-7795)
Minister for Portsmouth Matthew Hancock speaking during the conference. Picture: Sarah Standing (143321-7795)

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‘NO other city gets this attention at the heart of government’ was the message from Portsmouth’s minister at a conference.

‘No city has seen faster progress,’ minister Matthew Hancock MP added, as he gave a speech at Shaping the Future of Portsmouth’s annual conference yesterday at the Pyramids Centre in Southsea.

Mr Hancock was appointed to the position in July after former minister Michael Fallon was promoted to Defence Secretary.

Mr Hancock said: ‘When the minister for Portsmouth role was created just under a year ago, jobs here were threatened and we took action to turn things around.

‘We put a plan in place to secure the future.

‘We have got three commercial bids short-listed for the dockyard with a decision to follow soon.

‘What is the result of all this effort? In this city, 1,200 people are off benefits and are in work over the last year – a 30 per cent fall of unemployment. There are 7,000 new apprentices since we took office.’

Mr Hancock said the heart of the recovery in Portsmouth lies in ‘skills, enterprise and physical space’.

‘We need to look at high-growth businesses, which account for a small proportion of the overall business population – about a third of one per cent create a third of all new net jobs,’ he added.

‘We also need to look at the background of entrepreneurial talent. To see so many people from different colleges at this entrepreneurship conference is good.’

The minister also spoke about the need for more business space to be freed up in the area.

As reported yesterday, as part of the Southampton and Portsmouth City Deal, land at Tipner has now been signed over to Portsmouth City Council.

‘As minister for Portsmouth I am committed to ensuring this city has the space and infrastructure it needs to remain a centre for advanced manufacturing,’ he added.

For more on Mr Hancock’s visit click here.