Lord Haskins, Chair, Humber LEP:
While the past year saw further political and economic uncertainty as Brexit was debated then delayed, 2018/19 was a more positive period for the Humber, with new investment plans announced by companies like Siemens Mobility, Ineos and Velocys.
Perhaps most significantly for the future, the offshore wind industry agreed its Sector Deal with Government, which will see a substantial increase in capacity in the North Sea. The Humber Energy Estuary is ideally placed to benefit from this and we are working with industry to deliver the deal.
The landmark Town Deal for Greater Grimsby was also signed with Government, again showing our region’s capacity to innovate in pursuit of economic growth. The LEP continues to invest to support North East Lincolnshire’s plans, and those for regeneration across the Humber.
This year also saw a significant expansion of the support we provide to SMEs, after the LEP and local authority partners secured a £6m investment from the European Regional Development Fund for our Business Growth Hub. This will help many more businesses across the Humber to realise their potential.
To further support SMEs, we also welcomed Jo Smedley as our new Small Business Champion, to ensure that the needs and interests of small businesses are considered throughout the LEP’s decision-making.
In July, the Government published its Review of LEPs. The Government’s decision to end overlaps caused some controversy, and I am grateful for the support of the Humber business community. However, the core messages – that businesses, local authorities and education working in partnership is important, and that the Government wants to strengthen LEPs and give them greater responsibility – are welcome, and I believe reflect well on our track record in the Humber.
This spirit of collaboration will also stand us in good stead as we seek to agree an Industrial Strategy for the Humber with Government over the coming months. Our engagement with businesses to date has already identified many opportunities and priorities to work on, and we look forward to further input as we publish our prospectus.
The Humber has an exciting future ahead, and with the contributions of businesses and our partners around the region we can continue to make progress together.
Chair, Humber LEP