First published in the Worcester News on 30.12.2016
The most recent statistics have shown that in recent years the County has had the strongest growth in higher level workforce skills, the second highest growth in productivity and the third highest growth in prosperity of all LEP areas.
These statistics reflect the fact that all organisations are working to the vision of building a connected, creative, dynamic economy in Worcestershire that delivers increased prosperity for all but also how local businesses are working to increase their productivity, develop their workforces and are growing which is great news.
In the last year at WLEP, we have seen huge progress with the programmes being funded by the Government’s Growth Deal to improve skills, infrastructure and build new homes. As we enter into 2017 we await details of our ambitious Growth Deal Round 3 bid as well as other open bids for funding which includes £70m for the dualling of Carrington Bridge and for a University Technical College in the County.
The implications of Brexit will be confirmed during the next year, however, locally we have continued to see great progress with our European Union Structural Funds (ESIF) schemes. There are currently open calls for funding, with more planned for the New Year, and so please do continue to keep abreast of the opportunities through our website www.wlep.co.uk and via Worcestershire Business Central (www.business-central.co.uk).
We now all look forward to 2017 and will work to keep up the momentum of growth for the County. As you consider your own business plans, I would encourage you to look into the excellent support on offer: by joining Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, through the Department for International Trade for exporting as well as contacting Worcestershire Business Central who can help with all your business needs, all in one place. I would like to wish you all a very prosperous New Year and look forward to meeting with many of you in the year ahead.