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GBSLEP economic plan relies on ‘game changing’ jobs growth from HS2

GBSLEP economic plan relies on ‘game changing’ jobs growth from HS2

🕔01.Apr 2014

Job creation projects described as “game-changing” which are based chiefly on a belief that high speed rail will be delivered as planned lie at the heart of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) submitted to the Government today.

GBSLEP is stressing it is the only local enterprise partnership in the country that will have two stations in the first phase of HS2 – Birmingham Curzon in Digbeth, and an interchange station at Birmingham Airport/NEC – and is making the case for regeneration  based around the arrival of high speed trains.

The bid by GBSLEP to the Single Local Growth Fund, if approved in full, is forecast to create 41,000 new jobs by 2022, provide 14,315 new homes and almost two million square feet of commercial floorspace across the LEP area, which covers Birmingham, Solihull, Wyre Forest, Redditch, Tamworth, Bromsgrove, East Staffordshire, Lichfield and Cannock Chase.

Fifty-two projects outlined in the bid are worth a total of £440 million over five years and GBSLEP is asking for £86.3 million for 2015-16.

GBSLEP’s neighbour, the Black Country LEP, has also submitted a bid for £56 million from the Single Local Growth Fund and an additional £5.7 million of transport funding for 2015-16.

The Black Country SEP proposes a programme for 2015-16 to deliver 5,000 new jobs, 200 new private homes, 1,900 additional businesses helped to grow and 1,500 additional learners supported to develop skills needed by businesses.

If GBSLEP and the Black Country LEPs were to be awarded everything they are bidding for, almost £150 million would flow to the area in 2015-16.

The GBSLEP and Black Country bids will be considered by Ministers and form the basis for a Growth Deal set to be agreed in the summer.

GBSLEP is proposing to set up a Growth Hub which would provide more than 15,000 businesses a year with access to a variety of support programmes.

Also included are projects for specific growth sectors in the LEP. These include an Advanced Manufacturing Hub in partnership with the Coventry & Warwickshire and Black Country LEPs and a Life Sciences Campus at Selly Oak.

Steve Hollis, GBSLEP Deputy Chairman, said: “Our Strategic Economic Plan looks to the future, setting out a bold plan that addresses the challenges and opportunities unique to our area.

“We know there is a strong consensus about the action that we need to take and we also know that Greater Birmingham is well positioned to deliver growth.

“This submission really presses our case to Government – it is built on co-operation and an agreed strategy, underpinned by close collaboration between the public and private sectors.

“The GBSLEP has already proven itself able to deliver – take for example the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone which is on course to have created 2,500 jobs by the end of this year, or the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain programme which has created and safeguarded over 1,000 jobs nationally.

“Now, we are asking for the opportunity to do more, to have more influence over the resources locally.

“We are the only LEP that will have two stations in the first phase of HS2 and we are committed to maximising the investment being made by Government, providing additional jobs and growth on top of their forecast figures.

”But the SEP goes way beyond Birmingham with a host of projects across the LEP area to unlock sites and improve connectivity.”

Black Country LEP chairman Stewart Towe said: “The Black Country is uniquely placed to create new jobs in high value manufacturing. We have a strong manufacturing base, supply chain networks, businesses that export globally and a location at the heart of the UK transport network.

“We believe our Growth Deal gives us the flexibility to address the barriers limiting business growth, including under-investment in skills, accelerating businesses innovation, creating additional high quality employment sites, improving the housing mix and tackling traffic congestion.”


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