Now that Article 50 has been triggered, what matters most is making a success of Brexit in our negotiations. For everyone, Brexit is about more than just about leaving the European Union and so the Government’s new Industrial Strategy, published at the start of the year, is about delivering a long term plan for Britain. It is about shaping the future of the UK; driving growth and productivity and making our economy, and country, a success. So what does this Industrial Strategy mean for our own region?
The Industrial Strategy and the vision for a modern economy centres around, in particular; science, research and innovation; skills; infrastructure; business and investment; affordable energy, amongst other things. The Strategy, which draws upon the work of other countries like Japan and Germany, will deliver a more balanced economy by reaching out and strengthening local institutions and skilled businesses, in order to make this blueprint a reality.
In my mind, these core aims provide our region with the ideal opportunity to showcase our immense talent and drive forward the excellent projects we already have here in Suffolk; from BT at Adastral Park, the University of Suffolk, and West Suffolk Hospital, as a centre for global digital excellence.
Yet this is more than just about making good, for what is already a success. The ambition of this Government, to deliver an economy that works for everyone as realised through the Industrial Strategy, also needs to be seen from the ground upwards. Our region may be a net contributor to the economy however, due to factors relating to rural sparsity, we still underperform against our potential. Therefore, the Strategy offers the ability to see more delivered for residents of Suffolk and the East.
For instance, by driving forward regional connectivity with our leading businesses and institutions, both physically through improved infrastructure and through the digital agenda, we can open up opportunities for those in our harder to reach areas. Our locality sits on a hotbed of world leading organisations from the University of Cambridge to Norfolk Research Park. We need to do more to unlock access to these institutions which sit on our doorstep.
In particular, the opportunities for developing a highly skilled workforce, means not only driving forward our STEM education for skills training but access to local businesses, to gather essential industry experience is vital to keep ahead of the competition.
Herein lies the key. By bringing together our education providers, business leaders and local representatives, we can start to build a vision which delivers skilled opportunities for a modern workforce. With improved connectivity as a key starting point, this ‘Strategy for the East’, is already being realised between MP's, higher and further education providers as well as our local business leaders; to deliver a local economy that works for everyone.
Published in the Bury Free Press