LEP Director Ruth Carver writes about Greater Lincolnshire's Local Industrial Strategy
The time for Greater Lincolnshire to make its voice heard has come! Following the green light from Government to create a Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) for Greater Lincolnshire, we kicked off the new year by launching a major public consultation last month to help us shape the future of our local economy.
At the heart of this process is the question of how we can build a stronger economic future for Greater Lincolnshire.
As UK productivity levels continue to slip compared to our global competitors, the Government has committed to rebalancing our national economy, and Local Industrial Strategies, developed by LEPs, have become integral to that.
These strategies are handing more power and autonomy to counties to shape their own economic future – and now, it’s our turn.
To get to this point of consultation, we have spent the last 12 months undertaking county-wide research to identify the opportunities that are distinct to our area.
This process was more than singling out key sectors in our area, but rather considering a range of local lenses through which we view the environment that our businesses operate in – from Lincolnshire’s dispersed rural and coastal geography to the characteristics of our population.
From this, we have established five emerging priorities for our Local Industrial Strategy – all of which are distinctive to Greater Lincolnshire, give us a comparative advantage and have the prospect of transforming our local economy for a generation.
Future proofing the agri-food industry. With a high concentration of agri-food businesses in our area, we want to support the increased use of technology within the sector to boost productivity and create a demand for new highly-skilled jobs such as engineers and software managers.
A rural innovation test-bed for energy and water. As new solutions to address climate change are needed, we want our Local Industrial Strategy to position Greater Lincolnshire as a rural test-bed for energy and water leading to possible projects in trialling new models of energy generation, rural grid management and sustainable water storage.
New solutions supporting people to live well for longer in rural areas. We want to develop an innovative health industry that meets the challenges of an ageing and rural population and increase the involvement of SMEs working in partnership with public providers.
A high-quality, inclusive visitor economy. With a beautiful natural coast and an abundance of cultural assets, tourism is one of Greater Lincolnshire’s key sectors and a large employer. However, with deprivation high in areas where tourism is a key sector, we want to support less seasonality in the sector, generate better quality employment and develop a tourism offer that attracts higher spending visitors throughout the year.
An adaptive ports and logistics industry driving greater connectivity. This industry is of key importance to other sectors in Greater Lincolnshire and employs a large number of people. To capitalise on our coastal location, we want to support automated processes within ports, retrain redundant workers and position Greater Lincolnshire as important export and import hub.
In addition to the five key themes, our LIS will also seek to address two cross-sector challenges in relation to skills and housing by equipping workers with the right skills when changing work environment and maximising the contribution which housing can make to the growth of the economy.
We can’t build our LIS without hearing the views, thoughts and valuable insight of our diverse business community. Whether you work in the education sector or run your own small enterprise, we want to hear from you. Your on-the-ground knowledge will help us strengthen our LIS and help build a more sustainable future for Greater Lincolnshire.
Ultimately, it’s this strategy which will set the course of our economy for the next decade.
Grasp this opportunity and help us transform our local economy for the better.