First published in the Worcester News on 27.03.2015
A prosperous future for Worcestershire
This is my last column as Executive Chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership as my term of office concludes on the 2 April 2015.
It has been an honour to hold this position for the past four years so may I sincerely thank the LEP’s many partners from business, the public, education and voluntary sectors, as well as the county’s MPs, the LEP Board and Business Board members and of course our executive team under Gary Woodman, for all the support they have contributed for the long-term prosperity of the County.
I am proud of the many achievements to date and those firmly in the pipeline. We have seen apprenticeship numbers across the county grow from 2250 to 10,000, unemployment and claimant numbers tumble to levels not seen since 2007, being 1.4% in January 2015 compared to 2.5% for the West Midlands, and private sector investment in developments and job creation top £600 million in less than 3 years, with much more planned. The recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures showed that growth in Worcestershire’s economy between 2008 and 2013 is the third highest across England, only outperformed by Oxfordshire and London.
Together we have already come a long way and I truly believe that the LEP has been the catalyst for partnership delivery and working together for the wider benefit of Worcestershire. I am confident that my successor, Mark Stansfeld, will bring fresh ideas and leadership in building further on the foundations we have created and I wish him and the whole LEP team well as they focus on delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan.
There are exciting times ahead and much to look forward to. I wish all businesses in the County a prosperous future and will be sure to follow your many successes as you continue to raise the profile of your companies and that of the County as the place to do business.
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership