Hot topics from yesterday’s New Anglia local enterprise partnership conference

PUBLISHED: 10:40 23 October 2012

New Anglia Conference at Wherstead Park, Ipswich

George Freeman MP

New Anglia Conference at Wherstead Park, Ipswich George Freeman MP


Apprentices: Business and enterprise minister Michael Fallon was yesterday urged to do more to make it easier for small and medium sized firms to take on apprentices.

Richard Bridgman, chairman of Thetford-based Warren Services said: “We need to find a faster way of encouraging people to take on more apprentices”.

Mr Fallon said he was hearing similar calls from other parts of the country and he would task officials to look into the issue.

Transport: New Anglia was urged to make the case for better East-West rail links during yesterday’s conference.

Caroline Jarrold, from retailer Jarrold said with business struggling to get to Birmingham’s NEC and back in a day the campaign for a crossrail link should be an “important next stage” in improving transport connections to Norfolk and Suffolk.

New Anglia chairman Andy Wood said that cross link was on the LEP’s agenda, it was important to securing an improved Norwich to London rail service and he also wanted to see A47 improvements to help the enterprise zone in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Agriculture: Anglia Farmers boss Clarke Willis urged the government to take a more co-ordinated approach to food and agri-businesses. Mr Willis told business and enterprise minister Michael Fallon that he was concerned that too often agri-businesses were “missed” by government departments.

“Too often there is a conflict between Energy, between Defra and between BIS. I believe this sector can be a powerhouse to drive forward the economy,” Mr Willis said.

“Food production is going to become more important and I would urge you to get involved rather than leave it to Defra.”

League: Business minister Michael Fallon told the conference that the private-public partnership organisations were here to stay and that New Anglia – which covers Norfolk and Suffolk was well up in his private league table.

Mr Fallon said: “I do a private league table and New Anglia is pretty well up in that. We are not going back to Regional Development Agencies, we have the Leps. This is one of the great growth regions of our country. It should be one of the motors of our economy.”

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