GBSLEP Blog – Cllr Mike Wilcox (April 2013)
Next week, following a year of hard work by partners and stakeholders, the GBSLEP Strategy for Growth will be launched.
This is the first time an economic strategy has been developed for the wider Greater Birmingham city region, of which Lichfield forms a key part.
When the Government first launched the idea of LEPs, Lichfield District Council was quick to see the benefits of partnering with Birmingham and our other local authority partners in the LEP.
At Lichfield District Council we are acutely aware of the part we will have to play in helping the GBSLEP achieve its ambitious targets of 100,000 private sector jobs across the LEP and increasing GDP by £8.25 billion by 2020.
The partnership puts us in an enviable position within one of the largest LEPs in the country, encompassing a population of over two million people and more than 800,000 jobs.
It also puts us in a position to be closely involved in major economic strategic work, such as the Strategy for Growth and the work with Lord Heseltine and his ‘No Stone Unturned’ report.
Having a close involvement in such a dynamic public-private sector partnership gives Lichfield more impact and a louder voice to Government than we could achieve working in isolation.
We have been able to play an important role in the shaping of the Strategy for Growth and we have been vocal and bold in expressing our views about the focus and shape of the document.
After all, the Strategy for Growth will be key in terms of Lichfield’s economic development activity in the coming years and it is important we get it right.
From our point of view, business innovation and growth has long been a priority for Lichfield District Council and I am delighted this principle is shared by the GBSLEP.
We are already seeing the fruits of delivery from our involvement in the LEP through schemes such as the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative, the Business Development Programme and the Growing Places Fund.
The Government’s commitment to establish a Single Local Growth Fund in line with Lord Heseltine’s recommendations raises the stakes for Lichfield and the wider LEP even higher and provides greater opportunity to accelerate economic growth.
The Strategy for Growth will put us in the vanguard amongst the LEPs and will, we hope, continue to demonstrate the benefits of us working together.