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Have your say as New Anglia LEP draws up economic blueprint for next 20 years

The A11 looking towards Norwich from the Elveden bridge.

The A11 looking towards Norwich from the Elveden bridge.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2015

Have your say on the priorities that will shape the region’s economy for the next generation.

That’s the plea from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, which is seeking the views of the business community as it compiles a new Economic Strategy for Norfolk and Suffolk over the next 20 years.

The document will supersede the Strategic Economic Plan published in 2014, which outlined targets for job creation, house-building and new business, with the LEP pointing to “significant changes” in the economy and politics in the past three years.

Laying out how the LEP and its partners intend to deliver growth in the region until 2036, the Economic Strategy will look at how Norfolk and Suffolk’s strongest sectors can be built upon, and what may be needed to support others.

Managing director Chris Starkie said: “Although this is being coordinated by the LEP, we really want more than just reaction to the plan: we want businesses to help shape and develop the plan itself.

“We will be talking to businesses about what the data is saying, and tell us the challenges they face and the opportunities they want to take advantage of.”

Mr Starkie said the new blueprint was needed because of shifts in the economic and political picture since 2014, including the general election, Brexit and the unveiling of the Industrial Strategy.

But he denied that the new Economic Strategy was a result of the region’s decision to reject devolution last year, adding that an elected mayor and combined authority would also have required its revision.

“We recognised that there had been significant changes in the economic and political landscape, so instead of carrying on with a tweaked version of the strategy it would be sensible to develop a new Economic Strategy,” he added.

The LEP has been gathering data since early this year, such as population data, analysis of sector strengths, productivity and other economic indicators, which it will present to businesses at events across the region.

They are in Great Yarmouth (June 12), King’s Lynn (June 19), Ipswich (June 28), Lowestoft (July 6), Norwich (July 11) and Newmarket (July 13). Bookings must be made through newanglia.co.uk, where businesses can also fill out a short questionnaire.

A review of the SEP’s impact in 2016 showed it was on target on the creation of jobs and businesses, but lagging behind on new housing and improving productivity.

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