First published in the Worcester News on 2.12.2016
In last week’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, confirmed that Local Enterprise Partnerships across England will be given a total of £1.8bn of Local Growth Fund to deliver economic growth for their respective regions. In Worcestershire, we are already seeing benefits from the schemes which have been supported to date and we now await details regarding our ambitious Growth Deal 3 bid which includes programmes that could grow our local economy further.
We are committed to our vision of building a connected, creative, dynamic economy that delivers increased prosperity for all. We, therefore, welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of additional funding to support infrastructure in the UK which includes significant investment in fibre Broadband and 5G technology. Thanks to the Superfast Worcestershire programme, more than 90% of Worcestershire’s businesses can access high speed fibre broadband. With current Growth Deal and other investment, this will be boosted to 95% of premises by Spring next year and we continue to work with partners to further improve connectivity for our local businesses.
The Chancellor also spoke of the importance of innovation and exporting for the economy and I am pleased to say that local businesses have been championing innovation for quite some time. This week’s Worcestershire Innovation Wednesday (WINN) was yet another well attended event and I would encourage businesses that are looking to boost their creativity and productivity to save the date for future events on 8 February and 5 April 2017. There are also many events available to local businesses that are looking to export and I would encourage these companies to take part in the Department for International Trades ‘Exploring Export’ event on 9 December in Kidderminster. Find out more about these and other events at www.wlep.co.uk.
Finally, tomorrow (3 December 2016) is Small Business Saturday. We have a wealth of fantastic small businesses in the County and I would encourage everyone to show their support. More details are at www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com or Twitter users can show their support using #SmallBizSatUK.