Great South West Prospectus - and a riposte to “Prophets of Doom” speech - PKF Francis Clark
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Great South West Prospectus – and a riposte to “Prophets of Doom” speech

As I and other people have commented, there is a danger that the South West gets left behind in terms of government funding as Boris looks north to cement his new “blue wall”.  In addition, there is no denying that the north and midlands have presented themselves well through the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.

On the latter point, it was pleasing to read that the Great South West prospectus was presented to UK Government last week.

The Great South West prospectus sets out how the area spanning Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the Heart of the South West (Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay) and Dorset aims to become the latest growth alliance to rebalance the UK economy, alongside the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse.

Prospectus – some to the key points

This prospectus includes aims and ambitions as follows:

  • A stated aim “to deliver £45bn of economic benefit and become the leading region for the green and blue economy”
  • An intention “to unlock the Great South West’s huge potential to be the UK’s world leader in clean growth backed by our region’s wealth of natural and research assets at sea and on land. In so doing, the Great South West can become the UK’s smart, connected and clean dynamo and with Government’s help we will do it.”
  • A focus “on the future – one that is smart, connected and clean – and our ambition is to become the cleanest economy in England and the first to be net zero carbon.”

And a number of asks from UK Government:

  • Formal recognition and an identified Minister to link into Government.
  • £2million over three years to move forward at pace and enable us to develop full business cases across the range of topics covered in this prospectus
  • Support for an enhanced export and investment hub; recognition of a Great South West Tourism Zone
  • An agreement to create a rural productivity deal.

Areas where we are seen to have a competitive edge (and where funding and support will be targeted)

There are some interesting statistics about the South West in the document and a link to the opportunities for economic and social development.  I would recommend that anyone with business interests in the region takes the time to read through the document as essentially it sets out the blueprint for where funding will be sought from UK Government. Key areas include:

  • Clean Energy
  • Digital Technologies
  • Technical Education
  • E-Health and E-Care
  • Carbon Sinks
  • Farm Zero
  • Environmental Intelligence Accelerator
  • Agritech
  • Smart ports
  • Tourism: The Great South West Tourism Zone and Green Tourism

Riposte to “Prophets of Doom” speech

I particularly like the emphasis on the Green and Blue economies – at a time when President Trump is preaching about “Prophets of Doom” we are recognising the problems of climate change, biodiversity loss etc and seeing a way forward that is of benefit to the region and beyond.

“We can make our economy more resilient and more productive by moving fast to zero-carbon and leveraging that knowledge and expertise in future. There is the potential to add up to £10billon of GVA and 175,000 jobs by 203012 within the energy sector”.

PKF Francis Clark

We have offices across the Great South West and, not surprisingly, have good client representation in most of the areas where funding and support will be sought.  We will continue to keep our eyes and ears open and disseminate information on funding, for example, to our client base.

I am pleased to say that here at Truro office I have chosen themes for the March breakfast briefing that are consistent with the Great South West target areas: Green Economy.  Details of the event can be found at link.

By Andrew James

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