Last week saw the launch of the Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) for SEMLEP area, alongside the strategies for Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. This locally developed plan sets out how the SEMLEP area will take full advantage of its global assets and maximise the economic opportunities of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.
To coincide with the official publication, the Rt Hon. Lord Henley MP, Minister for BEIS, hosted a business roundtable discussion at Cranfield University with representatives from across the Oxford - Cambridge Arc also launching their LIS.
The South East Midlands Local Industrial Strategy sets out ambitious plans to make the area the ‘Connected Core’ of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, linking innovators and markets across the area as well as into London.
A key focus of the strategy is harnessing the huge local potential to develop innovative technology locally and transform the best ideas into high-growth businesses, creating new jobs and opportunities in the area.
This will build on the existing research and development strengths of the area, including ground-breaking work on automotive design, connected and autonomous vehicles, and the future of freight transport.
Developed in collaboration with leaders, including the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), local authorities, businesses, and government, the Local Industrial Strategy sets out how the area will deliver the national Industrial Strategy’s aim to raise productivity levels and to create high-quality, well paid jobs.
Lord Henley also visited Red Bull Racing for a tour of the company’s headquarters in Tilbrook, Milton Keynes, to find out how it is driving up innovation and boosting productivity in the area.
The area’s historic links with Formula 1 racing mean there are now over 4,000 high tech and innovation companies within an hour’s radius of Silverstone, and the area is home to major transport innovators, including the Silverstone Technology Cluster and Millbrook Proving Ground’s vehicle and battery testing facilities in Central Bedfordshire.
In addition, the South East Midlands area is at the forefront of the Future of Flight programme, part of the Aerospace Sector Deal, agreed with the government last winter, which aims to make the UK a leader of hybrid-electric and electric propulsion, and to exploit related new markets such as drones and Urban Air Mobility vehicles.
Commitments in the South East Midlands Local Industrial Strategy include:
- To become the ‘Connected Core’ of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc: the place with the space, and connectedness between key innovators and markets, to enable ideas and inventions to be tested, enhanced, commercialised and spun out into high growth ventures
- To lead the way on the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, through continued investment in the area’s aerospace and advanced engineering excellence, and by pioneering the use of innovative freight technologies and demand-responsive transport
- To put employers at the heart of innovative skills provision and to become the Oxford-Cambridge Arc’s core provider of digital skills, attracting and training the next generation to lead the global digital revolution
- To improve productivity and sustainability in tandem, fuelled by renewable energy, smart and connected transport solutions, and greener vehicles, buildings and design principles
To provide an exemplary business environment, with high-quality commercial premises and support for incubator, scale-up, innovation, trade and investment activity within the Arc.
Dr Kerry Mashford OBE, Board Director and Energy Champion, SEMLEP, said:
“The SEMLEP area’s Local Industrial Strategy puts clean growth front and centre. With the pace of economic growth we’re forecast to achieve, it’s right that we prioritise this. This area will shape the concepts behind ‘future settlements’ and lead growth by design.
“The SEMLEP LIS promotes taking best practice from the beacon projects we have in areas such as building and settlement design, modern methods of construction, emissions testing, renewable energy systems, demand-led transport and electric vehicle infrastructure.
“This will place the South East Midlands at the heart of supporting the ambitions behind the government’s Road to Zero.”
Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said:
“Local Industrial Strategies are about celebrating the unique strengths of places across the country, so it was great to meet business leaders from across the South East Midlands area today to understand how they are going to put this new, government-backed economic plan into action.
“Our modern Industrial Strategy aims to raise productivity levels and to create high-quality, well paid jobs, and this Local Industrial Strategy outlines how we will do that for people in the South East Midlands.”
To learn more about the ambitions listed in SEMLEP's LIS, its emerging policy themes and propositions or to read the publication in full, click here