The Government has announced that Leicester and Leicestershire has been included in the second wave of areas being invited to develop a Local Industrial Strategy.
The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) is the only East Midlands LEP to be included in the next wave and will join the North East, Tees Valley, West of England, Cheshire and Warrington and the Heart of the South West LEPs in working with Government to prepare a full Local Industrial Strategy.
Government launched the Industrial Strategy in November 2017. This sets out ambitions for the UK to improve its performance and create an economy that boosts productivity and earning power throughout the UK. It is a long-term plan that provides a policy framework against which major private and public sector investment decisions can be made.
The Industrial Strategy is based around five foundations of productivity that include: Ideas, People, Infrastructure, Business Environment and Place.
In addition, four Grand Challenges have also been included to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. These are:
• Artificial Intelligence and Data Economy
• Future of Mobility
• Clean Growth
• Ageing Society
The Grand Challenges are an invitation to business, academia and civil society to work together to innovate and develop new technologies and industries in areas of strategic importance to the UK.
Three Combined Authority trailblazers have already been invited to develop a Local Industrial Strategy for their regions and Government has announced there will be a second wave of six Local Enterprise Partnership areas, including LLEP.
Kevin Harris, LLEP Chair said: "We have been planning our Local Industrial Strategy Prospectus for several months to ensure we were ready when the Government called for more regions to submit proposals. We engaged with over 100 businesses during a series of round table events in May, in addition to local authority, education and university partners to ensure that our local strategy reflects the key sectors and strengths of our region and meets the foundations and grand challenges that the Government wants to develop.
"Following our partnership work the LLEP submitted our Local Industrial Strategy Prospectus to Ministers and I am delighted that we have been selected to submit a full Local Industrial Strategy for our area. This means that we can now work with Government on major investment projects across key sectors to drive our economy forward, creating good quality jobs and improving infrastructure to make Leicester and Leicestershire a location of choice for businesses and a great place for people to live and work."
Nick Rushton, Leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “This is excellent news. Trailblazing industry, skilled people and good transport are encouraging more companies to make the county their home and we want to be at the forefront, driving this growth.
“The strategy will provide a long-term vision for boosting our economy and supporting companies, and by unlocking investment for transport, infrastructure and much-needed housing, aims to enhance Leicestershire’s reputation as a great place to do business. It’s also important that the East Midlands is not overshadowed by the West Midlands, and this will help to balance things out.
“We’re committed to working closely with the LLEP and the Government to develop this vital strategy for Leicestershire.”
Sir Peter Sousby, Leicester’s City Mayor said: "Leicester has already been transformed thanks to the success of our Connecting Leicester scheme, and work is well under way at the Waterside to create a vibrant and thriving neighbourhood with new homes and new workspaces.
"This news is most welcome and has come at a great time as we move onto the next stage of regeneration work in the city. The Local Industrial Strategy will support our ambitions and create the opportunities to bring investment in to Leicester and Leicestershire."
Neil O'Brien OBE, MP for Harborough said "It's fantastic that Leicestershire has been selected as one of the first LEP areas to develop a Local Industrial Strategy. This strategy provides a great opportunity to create new jobs for the area and for local businesses to grow and become more productive."