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Business views sought for LEP economic plan

Gill Hamer

Gill Hamer

Employers in the Marches are being invited to give their views on the barriers to, and opportunities for, business growth in the region.

The Marches LEP is updating its Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), which was originally published in 2013 and formed the basis of its £83m Growth Deal settlement with Government in the following year.

The business-led LEP is now asking companies in the area to complete a short survey which aims to reveal whether the same barriers and opportunities identified three years ago remain, and to what extent.

Director of the Marches LEP, Gill Hamer, said the survey would also feed into work currently being carried out with the business boards in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, as well as the three local authorities, to assess the current economic activity in the region.

Miss Hamer said: “The views of our businesses are important to us and will help us identify our strategic priorities for the Marches economy as we continue with our programme of work.

“Three years ago, working with businesses, we identified a key barrier to growth as being infrastructure, both in terms of roads and rail and broadband and mobile connectivity. Skills and workforce development was another issue highlighted by our businesses and both of these helped us formulate our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

“More than £77m of the resulting Growth Deal we negotiated with Government based on our economic plan is being invested into key road schemes to open up routes and land for homes, development and job creation. We are also investing more than £8m in the faster rollout of high-speed broadband and there was also around £3m for skills projects.

“But it is important that we now look to refresh Strategic Economic Plan. We are again engaging with the business community, making sure their views are being heard and we can use their feedback to help identify where future investment should be made. That way, we can help break down the barriers to growth and develop the economic conditions for our thriving and dynamic business base to flourish.”

Businesses can take part in the survey by visiting https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=145492517730, the closing date is noon on February 24.

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