The LEP is developing a Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) following publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper at the end of last year.

The LEP is developing a Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) following publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper at the end of last year. The Industrial Strategy aims to address issues affecting low productivity and regional disparities to create growth and improve living standards across the country.

Rebalancing the economy is a central theme, as Theresa May highlights in the introduction: “For me, it is not enough to see growth in the national economy if your local economy is shrinking.”

The White Paper identifies five foundations of productivity as the “essential attributes of every successful economy”: Places, Ideas (innovation), People (skills), Infrastructure and Business Environment.

It also proposes four Grand Challenges – developments in technology that are set to transform industries and societies around the world, and in which the UK is in a position to seek competitive advantage. These are: artificial intelligence and big data, clean growth, the future of mobility (public and private transport systems) and meeting the needs of an ageing society.

In Greater Lincolnshire we have been working to develop a Local Industrial Strategy with the aim of future-proofing our economy and boosting productivity. Clearly this means that there will be a significant degree of overlap with existing strategies and delivery plans – not least the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan.

Our LIS aims to:

  • identify local strengths and challenges, future opportunities and the action needed to boost productivity, earning power and competitiveness
  • be based on clear rationale for intervention tightly targeted around a specific problem with clarity around why intervention will make a difference
  • have a long-term focus and take account of how the economy is evolving – for example, how global trends such as technological change, Brexit, globalisation and demographic change are impacting on the local economy
  • identify new ways of working – potentially across sectors, actors, organisations and boundaries
  • take a partnership approach to identify what can be driven by businesses and local actors alongside national government support
  • focus on improving living standards as well as economic growth. It is not just about more jobs but more good quality jobs and better pay.

A number of activities are supporting the development of a LIS including research on productivity, the potential impact of Brexit on our priority sectors, and a refreshed sector analysis to help us understand our business and employment make-up at a micro level.

Significant stakeholder engagement has included a series of MP-led discussions with business and meetings with key council committees and sub-groups of the LEP Board.

Through these activities we are starting to define the following areas of focus. These priorities will be developed and refined over the coming months through further local engagement and collaboration with national Government:

  • food processing productivity: productivity increases in the food processing sector, automation and robotics
  • future skills needs: we would like to develop an approach that builds the partnership between providers, businesses and the LEP to improve our capacity to plan for and deliver against future skills needs
  • test bed area for rural energy solutions
  • future proofing our sectors through digitalisation: this could focus on supporting Lincolnshire manufacturing companies, including food manufacturing, to improve their digital capabilities in order to stay competitive
  • Developing our strengths in rural health