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Local places are key to post Brexit prosperity – investment must prioritise areas in most need of development

16th July, 2018
Local places are key to post Brexit prosperity – investment must prioritise areas in most need of development

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has set out its position on how to make the Industrial Strategy work in a post Brexit environment.

Publishing its position paper, ADEPT has laid out the fundamental importance of place in creating the right conditions for productivity and future prosperity. The Association also warned the Government against inadvertently creating a two-tier system where places without devolution deals are left behind.

ADEPT President, Neil Gibson said: “We welcome the Government’s recognition of place as one of the five pillars of productivity, but with that must come an understanding of what places need to succeed.

“We share concerns that both local industrial strategies and the devolution agenda are being left behind by Brexit and that there isn’t the will or the resources to deliver.

“We have worked closely with our public and private sector partners to put forward our view on how to make the Industrial Strategy work for everyone. ADEPT has a clear view on how to build future prosperity and the role of place is central to that vision.”

The Association believes that tackling economic disparity must be seen as a priority for national productivity post Brexit, with the risk of a piecemeal devolution creating a divisive system of investment avoided. Transport, digital and energy are key areas for infrastructure development, but this must be delivered across the country and focused on the places that are already lagging behind.

Investment must be strategic and provide certainty, but also developed in partnership with the private sector. Historic underinvestment cannot be addressed purely through taxation and public spending.

For ADEPT, joining up policy and delivery across government departments, all working to a common agenda might sound like wishful thinking in the current climate, but it is vital.

Aligning national strategy with local policy and leadership through the development and delivery of Local Industrial Strategies (LIS), offers a practical route through Brexit uncertainty. The Association will be working closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP), who are leading on the development of LIS, both nationally and as members.

Warren Ralls, Director of the LEP Network said: “The strong focus on place that the Government has built into the Industrial Strategy has transformational potential both for local economies and for local leadership.

“LEPs and ADEPT members are working effectively together through our strategic collaboration across all sectors, to create the conditions that will help our business communities be even more productive and deliver inclusive economic growth that is sustainable. We welcome ADEPT’s contribution to the debate, and encourage Government to work with us on the ambitious local Industrial Strategies that are being developed.”

Neil Gibson continued: “Local Industrial Strategies are central to both local and national success. Enabling business confidence is critical and we must invest in skills, particularly those that support infrastructure and construction, sectors that are deeply affected by the UK skills gap.

“We must not lose sight of the quality and vitality of the environment in which we live, work and invest. ADEPT will continue to make the case for place and to support the unique areas and communities we work for. We recognise that it is this very uniqueness on which we will need to build to create real competitive advantage.

“It is therefore essential Local Industrial Strategies recognise the diverse nature and structure of our local economies, they must highlight our unique strengths locally and they must not boil local areas down to a single sector for the sake of convenience.”

At the ADEPT Autumn conference, the LEP Network will be leading a session on the critical development of LIS and their role in shaping post Brexit Britain. For more information, visit www.adeptnet.org.uk.  

ENDS