Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched its new Strategic Economic Plan at its Annual General Meeting in Brighton.
The plan - Gatwick 360° - sets out the scope for economic growth in an area which is hugely important for the national economy and has Gatwick Airport at its heart. It was revealed to a room full of businesses, local politicians and education sector representatives who were involved in its development.
Coast to Capital's vision by 2030 is for the towns and cities in the Coast to Capital area to be known around the world as fantastic places to live, to grow and succeed and for the area to become the most dynamic non-city region in England, centred around a highly successful Gatwick Airport.
The strategy sets out eight priorities to grow the area's economy which include specific actions on urban centres, business infrastructure, sustainable growth, skills, innovation, digital networks, transport and identity. The publication of the strategy is the first step in the LEP's plan to negotiate a strong Local Industrial Strategy with Government and attract significant investment for the region.
The event also announced that scale-up businesses will be able to benefit from a new initiative, the "Coast to Capital Escalator Programme" which will help those businesses achieve their potential. This initiative is one of the first in the country and focuses on providing bespoke support to businesses which have high potential for growth. The launch of this initiative demonstrates immediate progress in supporting a stronger business environment which is a priority in the new strategy.
Tim Wates, Coast to Capital Chairman said:
"The Prime Minister has confirmed LEPs as vehicles for local growth. On the back of our significant achievements to date this bold strategy will bring wealth to all our towns and cities in an area which has Gatwick Airport at the beating heart of its economy. We stand ready to make the case for investment to Government in order to scale up our contribution to the UK economy."
Jonathan Sharrock, Coast to Capital Chief Executive said:
"I am delighted to be launching our new strategy today, the culmination of over a year's worth of evidence gathering, analysis and stakeholder engagement. Our strategy sets out exciting and practical plans for growing our economy over the next decade, and we are now leading work with our partners to deliver them."
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport Ltd Chief Executive said:
"It's great to see Gatwick's vital role at the heart of the region recognised in this ambitious strategy. The Growth Corridor from London to Brighton has many strategic advantages, not least the global connectivity and ongoing investment provided by Gatwick, and I fully support Coast to Capital's vision for the future."
The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:
"Thank you for all the hard work that you have put into making this area of the country one of the most successful. The breadth of activity in such a relatively small geographical area is truly outstanding. From the industrious businesses surrounding Gatwick airport and Crawley, to the beauty of the South Downs, and the creative and tech industries, this really is an area that has everything. The work that you co-ordinate is hugely appreciated. It is the bringing together of these strengths that reinforces the success you enjoy."
Councillor Garry Wall, Chairman of Greater Brighton, said:
"We welcome today's publication of the Coast to Capital Strategic Economic Plan which has the potential to deliver great benefits to the nearly one million residents of the Greater Brighton region. Greater Brighton knows full well the importance of Gatwick Airport to the region which is why we are delighted to have them as members of our board. We look forward to working with partners from across local authorities, business, universities and further education, to deliver on some of the aims within this ambitious strategy."
Councillor Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, said:
"I'm delighted to support this progressive and very welcome manifesto. Coast to Capital's integral role in the development of the Newhaven Enterprise Zone and wider contribution to other important local projects has been invaluable. We share the same ambition, standing shoulder to shoulder together in a drive to create and nurture the future prosperity of the Lewes district."
Councillor Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council said:
"The SEP dovetails with our West Sussex Economic Growth Plan: this ambitious plan will ensure that West Sussex continues to have a growing economy, that our towns flourish and that the county remains a prosperous place."