Great South West News

Friday 13th March 2020

Budget 2020 - What does it mean for LEPs in the Great South West?

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership said:

"We've been campaigning for the dualling of the A303 for years, so we're delighted to get final commitment from this Chancellor and look forward to getting clarity about when this project will go live; however what we need to see next is a holistic approach to our whole transport network that invests in rail resilience, wider road network resilience and addresses our recent loss of air connectivity with the collapse of FlyBe.

"As an area with a high proportion of small businesses, the measures to support enterprises through the Covid-19 emergency are welcomed and will be particularly beneficial to our local enterprises - our Growth Hub reports a high number of people contacting them for advice. There's a lot in this budget about rural economies, particularly on improving broadband, flood resilience and the exemption from fuel tax relief abolition for agriculture and fishing.

"On the whole, we welcome today's largest sustained fiscal boost for 30 years - but we need to know where our share is on the Government's levelling-up agenda; so we look forward to working with the treasury on the detail on how this translates directly to investment in the Heart of the South West and the Great South West over the coming days.

""We're ready and willing to increase our contribution to UK plc - levelling up has always been key to our agenda and is central to our forthcoming Local Industrial Strategy which we believe is soon to be backed by Government.

"To quote the Chancellor: "More investment and growth means more jobs and higher wages" this concept is central to our Productivity Strategy that aims to create higher value careers and raise prosperity for all."

Rebalancing the UK's Economy is our prospectus outlining how the Heart of the South West aims to level-up and increase our contribution to UK plc. The Heart of the South West Local Industrial Strategy is soon to be published jointly with Government. Progress statements and the evidence base on which it has been written are available here.

On the wider Great South West geography which includes the LEP areas of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Dorset, we've outlined our asks and opportunities for increasing the region's contribution to the economy by £45bn in the Prospectus: Securing our Future.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP Budget comment

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

"This will be seen as a pro-business Budget, with a series of Coronavirus emergency measures including sick pay provisions and access to finance for business interruption, and support for the self-employed. The suspension of business rates for small high street firms is a welcome shot in the arm for our town centres, and the £3,000 of grant funding for those paying little or no business rates is welcome. And there will be more money for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub, which is a critical part of business support funded by the LEP.

"We would have liked to have seen a formal commitment from the Chancellor towards establishing the Great South West as the next regional growth alliance to rebalance the UK economy. That said, we warmly welcome the commitment to deliver the long overdue Camelford bypass on the A39 Atlantic Highway, and to upgrade the A303 which remains a key artery to our region.

"We were disappointed that there is still no detail about the Shared Prosperity Fund, and although the Chancellor pledged 'to match current levels of funding for each nation from EU structural funds' as a minimum, we will be seeking clarity that this still guarantees Cornwall a ring-fenced allocation as previously promised by the Prime Minister.

"We look forward to the publication of a revised Green Book in the summer, which promises to revisit how government investment decisions are made and to make sure that all areas achieve their economic potential. This includes looking at how value for money is assessed, and we support any move away from a slavish adherence to GVA towards a more rounded view of prosperity that takes account of environmental growth, health and wellbeing."