LEP Interim Chair gives upbeat investment message to City Region business leaders
Investment in Liverpool City Region’s businesses and innovation assets is continuing at a substantial pace despite national economic and political uncertainties.
That was the message from Asif Hamid, Interim Chair of the Region’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), when he addressed a 100-strong audience of senior decision-makers at the LEPs Annual Dinner, sponsored by Alstom and Lloyds Bank, at the World Museum Liverpool.
And that message was backed up by a trio of inspirational business leaders from Alstom, Unilever and Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust who shared their investment plans and vision for the future of the City Region.
The evening was opened by Mark Basnett, Managing Director of the LEP, before Mr Hamid gave an upbeat assessment of the region’s economic prospects and said that collaboration between the public and private sectors was at an all-time high. He explained:
“The public and private sectors are working together to drive growth more urgently, passionately and collectively than ever before. We have a raft of extraordinary investment and growth opportunities right now and a clear strategy to realise that growth.”
The LEP recently launched the Growth Strategy for the City Region, commissioned by the Combined Authority and the LEP is now working on an Action Plan to turn the strategy into delivery.
Asif added: “The prospects for our City Region are outstanding. We need to capitalise on our assets and opportunities and we will do that by working together with a shared ambition and clear focus. The LEP has a vital role to play in facilitating that collaboration and ensuring that business informs and drives the City Region’s growth and we invite all of our members, partners and the whole City Region business community in all of its rich diversity to work with us to inform and develop an Action Plan to realise those prospects.”
Mr Hamid went on to say: “The City Region – all of us – needs to be promoting these unique opportunities with a consistent message that Liverpool City Region is open for business. And though it’s no surprise to me that our City Region has the highest proportion of high growth businesses in the UK outside London and our aim as a LEP is to increase that proportion further.”
Invited speakers also gave their upbeat assessment of the City Region.
Mike Hulme, Alstom Managing Director spoke how Alstom’s £20m technology centre development will bring a state of the art facility to Halton and create jobs and growth for generations to come providing train refurbishment and maintenance facilities with the opportunity for further site expansion in the future. Mr Hulme also talked about their North West Transport Training Academy, also at Widnes, that will act as a UK centre for training in engineering, manufacturing, project management, the digital railway and other transport skills.
Jon Hague, Vice President Open Innovation for Unilever told the audience of Unilever’s belief that the City Region is a dynamic place to do business and how this commitment is evident in their continued investment into Port Sunlight, Wirral; with their new £24million Advanced Manufacturing Centre, and their joint venture with the University of Liverpool of a Materials Innovation Factory which will propel the City Region to become a world leader in Computer Aided Material Science.
Lastly, Iain Hennessey, Clinical Director of Innovation and Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool explained how a ground-breaking collaboration with the STFC Hartree Centre and IBM is applying ‘artificial intelligence’ technology to create the UK’s first ‘living hospital’ that could transform working practices in healthcare not just in the City Region and the UK but across the world.
Reflecting on the evening Asif said: “We in this room, by working together, can help to change the lives of the people who live and work in this amazing and exciting City Region and build a brighter future for our whole community. Let’s do it!”