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Plans to create more than 58,000 jobs launched

More than 58,000 new jobs will be created across the Marches – and the economy is set to grow by £8.7billion – under an ambitious new 20-year blueprint for success.

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership says an extra 5,200 new businesses will launch and 54,000 new homes be built as the region’s economy grows to £23.8 billion by 2038.

The LEP – tasked with driving economic growth across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin – outlines the plans in its new Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

The SEP was launched at an event at the House of Commons attended by Secretary of State Chris Grayling MP and the region’s MPs, Midlands’ Engine chairman Sir John Peace as well as business leaders and local authority partner representatives.

The plan says the region has the potential by 2038 to: create 58,700 new jobs and grow the economy to £23.8 billion; raise the population to 807,500 from 684,300 and build 54,400 new homes; be in the top 25 per cent for life satisfaction nationally; and increase productivity per head to £29,425 from £21,178.

The plan also sets ambitious targets for the shorter term including: creating 1,000 new jobs in the low carbon sector by 2030; reducing 1990 carbon emissions by 57 per cent by 2032; lowering fuel poverty to below 10 per cent by 2030; and moving to 50 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2030.

Graham Wynn, chairman of the Marches LEP, said the plan had been published after consultation with hundreds of businesses, local authorities, and educational and development partners.

“This document sets out a clear vision and set of priorities which harness the distinctive business strengths and assets which will drive this region’s economic growth and further success. Our ambition for the future is built on a track record of success including securing over £195m of investment for the region with our partners over the past four years. As the global economy continues to change we are making sure we are ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

“This plan will help ensure that the Marches is well-placed to make the most of those opportunities, developing a thriving, innovative and entrepreneurial economy which delivers high-value jobs and an outstanding quality of life for those who live here.”

The SEP details how the region’s core economic sectors of advanced manufacturing, food and drink, and business and professional services will continue to play a key role in the economy. But it adds that emerging sectors such as environmental technology, cyber security, agri-tech and innovative health and social care offer huge potential for growth.

And it says that the LEP will help companies pioneer innovation, with the creation of a new regional automation task force, partnerships with the health sector to trial new health and social care technologies, an emphasis on cyber security and the development of new incubator, accelerator and grow-on space to foster cutting-edge companies.

The LEP will also work alongside business and education providers to ensure that skills training reflects the needs of the modern workplace and helps everyone reach their full potential, the SEP says.

Mr Wynn said the LEP was now developing a Local Industrial Strategy to build on the plan and ensure the region achieved a balance between a growing, highly-skilled population which needed more homes and the region’s outstanding natural environment.

Pictured: LEP vice-chair and chair of Telford Business Board Paul Hinkins, LEP director Gill Hamer and chairman of the Marches LEP Graham Wynn OBE at the launch


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