Continued collaboration is key for 2018 says LEP Chair
The chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Asif Hamid MBE, has said that continued collaboration across the City Region will ensure we take advantage of the growing economy.
Outlining the successes of 2017, Asif has given an upbeat assessment of the region’s economic prospects and said the LEP would play a critical role in driving economic growth. “We can certainly look back on 2017 with a sense of achievement. Despite the uncertainties over Brexit, the Liverpool City Region economy has continued to perform well. Recent ONS figures show that business start-up numbers have continued to grow, resulting in more than 2,500 additional recorded businesses in the last year*. Job numbers in the City Region have also increased by nearly 10,000, with over 80% of these created in the private sector**,” said Asif.
On the Devolution Agreement with Government that saw the City Region elect its first ever Metro Mayor, Asif said: “Having a Combined Authority and an elected Metro Mayor with devolved resources and powers from central government has put the City Region in the driving seat of our own economic future. A future where we, as a City Region, are working together to harness the many talents of our community, to stimulate business growth, drive productivity, create new jobs, upskill our people and attract new investment.”
On the LEP, Asif said: “In November, we held our Annual General Meeting and presented our activity to our partners. This event was well received by all who attended and highlighted the work carried out by the LEP including the continued support to local business via the Local Growth Hub; prioritising our key growth sectors and working collaboratively on a number of innovative projects such as LCR4.0; Health Innovation Exchange and LCR Activate. We have also been playing a central role in supporting and informing the Metro Mayor on key priorities around Tidal Energy, Digital Infrastructure and Innovation.
“This is an exciting time to be doing business in the City Region. I am pleased with the progress that we have made over the past twelve months and I am mindful that our work at the LEP must continue, in order to drive growth.”, added Asif.
Asif also gave his analysis of what 2018 holds for business. On the UK leaving the European Union he says: “There is no doubt that the issue of Brexit has been a dominant force throughout 2017, and is something that will continue to dominate business decisions in 2018 and for a number of years to come. As portfolio lead for Business and Brexit for the Combined Authority we will ensure we continue to draw on local expertise and involve public, private, higher education and third sector stakeholders in developing our understanding of the implications of Brexit and what responses the City Region should develop.”
On the Government’s Industrial Strategy Asif commented: “Now that the government has released its Industrial Strategy White Paper, we are looking forward to working with the Metro Mayor and partners to produce a Local Industrial Strategy for the City Region that will see us build on our competitive strengths, assets and opportunities.”
Asif added: “For the LEP, 2018 sees our first Annual Conference as part of our successful Insights Programme on the 8th May at ACC Liverpool. The Conference will provide a wide-ranging insight into the opportunities and challenges facing the City Region, the plans to realise its economic potential and the key role business has in driving the economy forward.
“The City Region also has another vibrant and successful Business Festival planned for 2018 – cementing our reputation as the place in the UK to hold trade and business festivals and providing an opportunity to promote what is brilliant about Britain’s goods and services and particularly those within the North of England.”
Asif concludes his upbeat message saying: “My message to business is be confident, the City Region is going places and I believe great things can happen when everyone works together, pulling in the same direction.”
*Latest Office for National Statistics Business Demography release, 2015-2016
**Latest Office for National Statistics Business Register and Employment Survey, 2015-2016