Posted on:
27th January, 2023

LEPs help drive the “animal spirits that spur economic growth”

LEPs can be key partners in the Chancellor’s vision to turn the UK into the world’s next Silicon Valley and use their local capability to galvanise what the Chancellor called “the animal spirits that spur economic growth” says LEP Network Chair, Mark Bretton.

LEPs help drive the “animal spirits that spur economic growth”

The Chancellor's speech at Bloomberg HQ this morning highlighted the sectors where LEPs are already helping to accelerate progress as part of his growth plan - including digital technology, life sciences, clean energy, creative industries, and innovation.

Responding to the Chancellor’s speech, LEP Network Chair, Mark Bretton, said:

“LEPs are on the front line of the economic challenges facing local communities, but they share one very simple ambition with the Chancellor – to grow the economy – but they are hampered by funding delays which could so easily be fixed. We’ve got to see optimism backed with action.

“LEPs could then accelerate their initiatives across the sectors the Chancellor focussed on, whether they are developing the groundbreaking life sciences cluster in Hertfordshire, getting over 50’s back into the workforce through Skills Bootcamps, forging a new space sector in Cornwall, driving clean energy in Oxfordshire, or forging innovative new economic partnerships in Leicestershire. LEPs are already firing up the “animal spirits” that will spur economic growth across the country – they just need to be supported”  

LEPs are initiating programmes that will build the future sectors and support innovation across the country, from Cornwall to Cumbria, from North Yorkshire to the Solent. For example:

  • Space Sector: Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP helped pave the way for the first satellite launch from Spaceport Cornwall at Newquay on Monday 9 January with local partnership and investment. The LEP identified and supported the construction of new facilities where satellite payloads will be commercially launched. The Centre for Space Technologies at Cornwall Airport Newquay includes a satellite integration facility, where satellites can be loaded into rockets ready for launch, there will also be a new operations facility aimed at the space-related companies amid a burgeoning space sector for the UK.
  • Nuclear Fusion: Oxfordshire LEP (OxLEP) is flying the flag in the quest for global nuclear fusion by helping to drive innovation in the region and champion the county’s unrivalled potential in fusion energy, especially in key areas such as superconductivity, cryogenics, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Ensuring the region becomes a primary location for fusion energy research and innovation.
  • Energy: LEPs are working with Rolls-Royce to deliver clean affordable energy by helping develop new production facilities for the next generation of nuclear power generation with small modular reactors (SMR). This will help the UK increase energy security and support net zero targets by generating low-carbon electricity from a sustainable source.
  • Innovation Partnerships: Leicester LEP’s Growth Hub is leading the 2023 Leicester Innovation Festival at the National Space Centre. It brings together innovators from across the region with a major focus on productivity, 20 events are planned between 6 and 17 February. It will showcase ideas that increase productivity and quality in small, mid-sized, and large organisations. New Anglia runs LEP runs a ‘Connected Innovation’ programme which is supported through core funding and brings together regional innovation centres to drive innovation into businesses in market towns. The programme takes innovation from the lab to the factory and importantly unlocks private sector investment in R&D. Like all LEPs, without current levels of core funding programmes like Connected Innovation programme will cease to operate.

The Chancellor’s speech is available here.