Will the private sector rise to the challenge of “mending” the UK economy?
Last week the Chancellor boldly stated that the UK economy is “on the mend”.
Like most, I’m taking his claims with a big pinch of salt, as there is clearly a lot more to do to get businesses back to investing like they were before the market crashed.
As these early signs of economic recovery hopefully gather some momentum, the LEP’s work building a business-focused Growth Plan will ensure that the Sheffield City Region is in pole position.
One thing that is clear in my mind is that sustainable economic growth can only come from the private sector. That is why it is so important that our Growth Plan is led by private sector, working with the public sector.
Building this plan, and getting it right, is a huge responsibility, and private and public sector leaders are taking their responsibilities very seriously.
Earlier this month, on Thursday 4 September, the strength of our partnership and shared ambition were made clear, as local businesses and council leaders came together to develop our high level strategy. Leaders made it very clear that a stronger and larger private sector must be at the heart of our Growth Plan.
There are three things that we must do to seriously grow our private sector – and they must all be joined-up and delivered effectively. 1. We must grow local businesses; 2. We must attract new businesses here, and; 3. We must help businesses to grow with the right skills and infrastructure.
Last week, on Tuesday 10 September, Chief Executive Ben Still and I met with local MPs from across the City Region. We were keen to hear what they had to say about what their constituents want. The MPs shared our views – we need more (and better) jobs for people in the Sheffield City Region and we need the private sector to grow to achieve that aim.
On Friday 13 September, one of Labour’s better known peers, Lord Adonis, was in Sheffield City Region, interested in finding out more about how the private and public sectors have been working together to achieve their shared economic ambitions. Adonis is the most recent in a steady stream of political heavy weights visiting our area. This week Lord Heseltine will be here, keen to see how his ambitions for devolving powers and funding already mean better local decision making, and ultimately economic growth and jobs for our City Region.