The Solent economy will receive an £840m boost as a result of Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) investment through the Local Growth Deal to date.
The impact has been revealed through an independent early stage progress review of the Solent LEPs Local Growth Deal, published following the Solent LEPs Annual General Meeting (AGM), Undertaken by AECOM, the analysis reviews the economic impact of the first 18 projects that, collectively, have received £90m in LEP investment since 2015.
Distributed across the whole of the Solent area, the funds have been invested in transport infrastructure, connectivity, housing development, training centres, and research and innovation facilities. Projects funded include; Station Quarter in Southampton, Dunsbury Business Park in Havant, the UKs first Centre for Cancer Immunology, and the Centre for Excellence for Composites, Advanced Manufacturing and Marine Technology (CECAMM) on the Isle of Wight.
All projects funded through the LGD aim to enable growth and development in the region, and their full value to the economy is in how they trigger positive long-term change. Together, the match-funding provided by public and private sector organisations have generated approximately £140m worth of new financial investment, which has been delivered by these projects since 2015. This means that for every £1 invested by the LEP another £1.6 has been directly invested by other organisations across the Solent.
Collectively, the projects will create and safeguard more than 1,000 jobs in the Solent, and analysis estimates the economic output of this to be in the region of £700m over the next 10 years. The projects also support the long-term objectives of the LEP’s ‘Solent 2050 Strategy’, by enhancing the region’s distinctive strengths, especially in the maritime sector, as well as the goals of the LEPs ‘Economic Recovery Plan’ for survival, stability and growth in the wake of Covid-19 and Brexit transition.
The economic impact of the Solent Growth Deal is expected to rise when final analysis is undertaken, with more recent LEP investments in projects including shore power at the Port of Southampton, flood defence infrastructure in Portsmouth and rail connectivity on the Island Line yet to be reviewed.
Brian Johnson, Solent LEP Chair, said: “2020 was an incredibly tough year for Solent businesses but we believe our area will recover stronger and the LEP remains committed to investing for the long-term growth of our economy. It is fantastic to see such a significant outcome from our Local Growth Deal investments so far, but we are just getting started in our work to lead the areas recovery and back our businesses.”
Alongside the Growth Deal progress review, the Solent LEP has also published its 2020 Annual Report, revealing the wider impact of the LEPs work across the last 12 months.
Support for small and medium sized (SME) businesses has been at the heart of the LEPs immediate response to the economic impact of the pandemic. This has included support for more than 1,900 businesses, through the LEPs team of Growth Hub advisers, as well as programmes to support businesses with crowdfunding, bridging loans and small grants for the visitor and wider economy.
Speaking at the AGM, Solent LEP Chief Executive, Anne-Marie Mountifield said: “We remain a catalyst for development and prosperity during these uniquely challenging times. The LEP has never been more in demand than in 2020 and the pandemic crisis prompted a huge rise in enquiries for business support. It is truly encouraging to see the positive impact the investments and funds are making to the development of the Solent”.
The early stage progress review of the Solent LEPs Local Growth Deal is available here: https://solentlep.org.uk/media/3583/growth-deal-impact-assessment-executivesummary_v4.pdf and a copy of the LEPs annual report is available here: https://solentlep.org.uk/media/3582/final-annual-report-2020-11-03-2021.pdf