2016/17 was a momentous year.
The EU referendum decision transformed the political agenda and will have profound implications for the future of the country and our economy.
Since the referendum decision, the LEP has been gathering the views of businesses to understand their concerns and identify the problems and opportunities they see ahead. We have been representing those views to Government, and we continue to seek out intelligence that can be acted on locally or nationally.
With Government’s attention and capacity largely absorbed by Brexit, we stepped up our efforts to drive the growth of the Humber economy for the benefit of local communities.
The Humber economy saw some landmark moments during 2016/17. The opening of Siemens’ wind turbine blade manufacturing facility on the Enterprise Zone at Green Port Hull, the decision to consent the world’s largest wind farm off the Humber, and the announcement of DONG Energy’s significant expansion in Grimsby were new highlights in the Energy Estuary story. There were also many notable successes for our established industries and our leading SMEs.
By the end of the year, employment in the Humber was at a record level. We are investing in new training facilities to ensure we can develop the future workforce, but business must do its part too.
The impressive start to Hull UK City of Culture, backed up by the physical regeneration of the City Centre, is changing perceptions inside and outside our region. Change is also happening in town centres, on Enterprise Zone sites and in infrastructure as projects around the Humber are delivered by our partners with support through the LEP.
There is a renewed level of confidence and optimism in the Humber, and that is something that we must continue to build on.
With Government developing a new Industrial Strategy, we need businesses in the Humber to shape this and ensure the Humber plays a central part.
It is worth remarking that the achievements of the last few years could not have happened without the strong and deepening partnership between businesses, local authorities and education providers, and the commitment of a great number of individuals who have stepped up to drive the change.
That is an important competitive strength for our region which will be ever more important as we respond to the uncertainties and opportunities ahead.
Chair, Humber LEP