GBSLEP develops its plans
The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has set out its plans to make the area a world class city region to more than 150 representatives from the local business community.
Chair Andy Street detailed the GBSLEP’s Strategy for Growth at a Business Engagement Event, held at Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Thursday 24 November.
The Strategy has three components – Business, People and Place – and updates were given on each area, by him and fellow Board members.
Paul Heaven explained that under the Business component, the LEP will support businesses through improved provision of business support and access to finance, but particularly will focus on playing to the area’s sectoral strengths, including advanced manufacturing, life sciences and the creative and digital industries. Wade Lyn also highlighted its plans to help cut red tape and promote social enterprise.
Under the title of People, details were set out of the business-led LEP Employment and Skills Board, which launched on 15 November. This Board will focus on creating an employer-led approach to skills provision, engaging with schools and young people early and addressing issues of high youth unemployment and long-term worklessness
As part of its Place agenda, Councillor Ken Meeson, Leader of Solihull MBC, explained the LEP’s plans to create an ambitious spatial framework, help improve connectivity for the LEP area through infrastructure improvements, support the Creative City initiative and provide a ‘business-friendly’ planning service.
Details of the LEP’s ambitious Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone were also outlined together with the vision for a growth agenda around the M42 Gateway. Benefits include business rate relief, simplified planning, superfast broadband and retention of business rates that will be used to fund the partnership’s priorities across their region.
Attendees were also given the chance to help shape the work of the LEP, by answering key questions on Business, People and Place and offering their thoughts on what the LEP’s priorities should be.
Andy Street said: “Our Strategy for Growth will make the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area a world class city region, and will be achieved by focusing on a few bold and game-changing priorities that will transform the local economy.
“This Engagement Event gave us an opportunity to set out our plans to a host of representatives from the local business community. We were also able to obtain invaluable feedback that will really help shape the LEP’s agenda as we move forwards.
“This will be the first of many events. We recognise that it is only by working closely with the business community and harnessing its energy, enthusiasm and skills that the LEP will achieve its ambitious plans.”
The LEP Board also met Minister for Cities Greg Clark to discuss moving towards a transformational City Deal for the whole LEP area.
Andy Street added: “We were given a very fair reception by the minister and we are looking forward to the prospect of working with him to achieve the best deal possible for the LEP area.”