December is a natural time for us all to take stock of the year’s achievements and preparing to build success in the New Year.
Following the announcement earlier this year of Worcestershire being the third fastest growing economy in recent years – I was pleased to announce last month that the latest data shows that the County has seen a rise of 2.7% in productivity during 2012-13, the fastest rate in all of England. Productivity, in this case, is measured in GVA per hour worked and is strongly linked with business innovation, investment and growth and so this is good news for Worcestershire.
The #WLEP15 Annual Conference last month, attended by over 400 people, provided the opportunity to review a successful year of delivery as well as consider future plans. Delegates at the Conference were among the very first to pick up our new Annual Report for 2015 which is introduced by Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Rt. Hon Sajid Javid MP and can be downloaded here. Thank you to all partners, public, private and third sector who contributed to the successes outlined in the report – it only works if it all works and I would encourage everyone to take the many opportunities to get further involved.
We are seeing the impact that the Worcestershire Growth Deal funding is making, which includes financing the £2m Worcestershire Growth Fund which was launched at the Conference to support local business expansion. I was therefore, pleased to see continued support for Local Growth Deals in the Chancellor’s Spending Review and Autumn Statement last week, with Worcestershire’s allocation currently standing at £54.2m. Alongside our €68m EU programme, this is making a real difference to our local economy.
Looking ahead we are not complacent. We must deliver the schemes we have funding for and work together to remain ambitious and outward facing, securing additional funding for the pipeline of programmes and helping to drive the Midlands Engine to the benefit of the region and Worcestershire.
As this is my last newsletter update of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support to the partnership over the last year and wish you all a very happy Christmas and a very prosperous 2016.