Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP AGM: “Empowerment at a local level will be key to driving recovery and defining our post-pandemic economy”
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP (SSLEP) 2021 AGM has evidenced how the £1 billion of additional investment brought into the area to date as a result of LEP activity has helped to create 15,000 jobs and apprenticeships, and the LEP has signposted over 10,000 SMEs to support via the LEP-funded Growth Hub in the past year.
Whilst the AGM offered the opportunity to reflect on the impact that the LEP has made locally throughout the last 12 months, the chair of the LEP and Board members also took time to demonstrate the LEP’s strong partnership approach to driving regional economic and inclusive growth.
The success of the LEP’s partnership work across the local area over the past ten years has helped to uniquely-position the LEP, providing the organisation with a direct insight into what local businesses are currently saying ‘on the ground’, and the key challenges that the private sector currently faces.
Alun Rogers, chair of Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP, said:
I’m extremely proud of the way that the LEP and its partners pulled together to support businesses and the local economy throughout the pandemic. We have been working hard to ensure that national schemes like furlough landed effectively at a local level, as well as keeping a close “ear to the ground” in terms of understanding the issues that were impacting local businesses throughout.
Looking ahead, we know that the labour market is an extremely volatile space, so developing a pipeline into key growth sectors has never been more important than at this pivotal moment for our economy. And it is not just factors at a local level that are affecting businesses. The international impact of the pandemic, coupled with national challenges like driver shortages, means that supply chain issues remain a very real concern for our local businesses.
Going forward, empowerment at a local level will be key to driving recovery and defining our post-pandemic economy. The Chancellor Rt Hon Rishi Sunak said in his recent Budget that the private sector needs to lead this renaissance. The LEP is the ideal vehicle to help drive this growth and opportunity at a local level, and I am determined to continue our fantastic work and help to further cement Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s place on the map.”
Discussing the opportunity for LEPs in the year ahead, Anne Boyd, chief executive of the LEP said:
The Government’s Levelling Up agenda has already proved Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to be a prime example of where the most impact can be felt.
We are fortunate here to have both thriving urban centres and diverse rural communities, but this does mean that they face very different types of economic challenges. That is why the LEP is ideally placed to work with partners across the region to be the voice of business to Government and help address the economic, social and environmental challenges we all face.”
Throughout the past year, the LEP’s partnership work with organisations including the Careers Hub and the LEP-funded Growth Hub has helped to address a number of business challenges and opportunities. Other significant work delivered has included unlocking housing sites and helping to protect against issues like flooding. More information can be found in the LEP’s 2020-2021 Annual Review.