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Solent LEP unveils Economic Recovery Plan

By Karolina Skinner
13 May 2021
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With a focus on innovation, digital inclusion and pioneering approaches to decarbonisation, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has unveiled an updated Economic Recovery Plan which puts health and well-being at the heart of the Solent's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Solent LEP Economic Recovery Plan follows three key stages – Survival, Stability, Growth – to ensure that resources are directed where they will be most effective as the Solent’s economy begins to return to growth

Brian Johnson, chair of the Solent LEP, said: "The past year has been incredibly tough for businesses everywhere, and as we begin to see signs of recovery, our team is focusing on helping the local economy to stabilise and move forward. With a track record of innovation, and as the home to world-class research assets, the Solent region is ideally placed to capture new opportunities. This will not only accelerate the pace of economic recovery but also lead to improvements in productivity in the long term.

"Our Economic Recovery Plan details how we will work with partners, government and our business community to ensure the Solent not only remains very much open for business, but also makes the most of its critical role in strengthening the UK's trading relationship with the world."

The Solent LEP Economic Recovery Plan follows three key stages – Survival, Stability, Growth – to ensure that resources are directed where they will be most effective as the Solent’s economy begins to return to growth.

Johnson explains: "The impact of the pandemic has not been felt evenly as we know. Some businesses are still very much in survival mode and in need of the critical support we are providing, while some are ready to move on to new ways of working and are looking at how to build resilience. Our plan supports 'levelling up' within our region and with the rest of the UK, and recognises the importance of ensuring economic growth is inclusive. The recent news that our region will be one of the UK's new freeports is another welcome initiative that will help to drive recovery and growth over the medium to long term."

Immediate initiatives to support the Solent's economic recovery from the pandemic are outlined in the Solent LEP's Delivery Plan for the year ahead. The Delivery Plan sets out seven priority areas and details the programmes which will support them.

These include:

  • Accelerating ambitions for the Solent to become a world-leading marine and maritime economy by investing in shore-based power units at the Port of Southampton and a new cruise terminal, complete with solar generation.
  • Pioneering approaches to climate change adaptation and decarbonisation. For example, by investing in the Industrial Engagement Hub at the University of Portsmouth Centre for Enzyme Innovation.
  • Supporting a coastal renaissance as demonstrated by investment into Centenary Quay in Southampton and the proposed Intelligent Merchant City on the site of the former Fawley Power Station.