An exciting new business partnership is to be launched in the Solent region.
The New Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is targeting the creation of 10,000 new jobs by 2026.
The LEP will be headed by ABP Southampton port director Doug Morrison, who will outline his plan to deliver fresh economic development at today’s official launch.
The LEP is bidding to become one of the Governments new ‘enterprise zones’ where business rates are slashed and planning rules are relaxed.
The new enterprise will cover 1.3 million people and 50,000 businesses across South Hampshire. However, this will replace the nine regional agencies that were set up by Labour to boost jobs and redevelopment.
This includes the South East England Development Agency (Seeda)
Will business run smoother under one regional roof or should the nine agencies have been maintained?
The LEP will take a stronger role in bringing in investment and tapping into the expertise of the four universities within the Solent area. However, is this enough?
The aim of the LEP is to “create an environment that will better facilitate economic growth and private sector investment in the Solent area, allow businesses to grow, become more profitable, greener and enable new businesses to form and prosper.
Speaking to the Daily Echo, Doug Morrison said, “It is a real landmark in the development of the LEP. The event will give us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the Solent business community.
“Engagement with local business will be extremely important in helping us focus our efforts on the issues which are most important to the region.”
The LEP has been granted a discretionary £1.4bn fund to stimulate enterprise over the next three years. Is it enough to cover the entire area though and what will it bring back in return?
Despite regeneration plans to boost local economy, Isle of Wright MP Andrew Turner criticised the LEP for excluding small businesses. “I understand that the Solent area LEP, which covers the Isle of Wight, has excluded representation on its board from small businesses, including the Federation of Small Businesses. That seems rather short-sighted,” stated Turner.
Do you think the new LEP will exclude small businesses? Will you be affected by the Solent LEP?