OPINION: East Anglia is packed with potential and I have a long term economic plan for it
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
East Anglia is a region packed with potential. It's got it all: the food that feeds our families; small businesses that generate jobs and growth; the wind and the waves that can power our homes; the runways that launch our fighter jets; the scenery that draws in millions of visitors.
For the past five years, this Government has been making the most of these strengths, while fixing the things that have held this area back. Since 2010, 177,000 more people in the East of England have become apprentices. 80,000 businesses have opened their doors; 2.4 million people have had their income taxes cut. And 196,000 more people are knowing the dignity and reward of having a job and bringing home a wage. All this is thanks to the hard work of the people of East Anglia – and to our long-term economic plan, which is turning Britain around.
Today I'm in the region to outline how we can continue on that path, setting out a long-term economic plan designed particularly for the East. Again, it plays to this area's strengths, and it has six parts: delivering economic growth; creating jobs; investing in transport; boosting science, technology and defence; supporting the rural economy and energy; and backing house building, education, culture and tourism. The impact on the people living here will be huge. By making RAF Marham the home of our new F35 Joint-Strike Fighter jets, the East will become the UK's first line of defence at home and abroad. By planning for Cefas's future in Lowestoft, we will bolster the region's reputation for agriculture and marine research. By spending £4.2 billion on transport – and looking at schemes like electrifying the line from Felixstowe to Birmingham – we will help make life better for families, commuters, business people and tourists alike.
The consequence of this will be jobs and growth. Our long-term economic plan for the East has a clear goal: to create 250,000 more jobs in the next five years. We're confident we can do it; employment has already grown faster in this region than any other English region outside London – an outstanding achievement. And the plan will help us grow the regional economy by at least the rate at which the rest of the UK is forecast to grow. By 2030 that would be worth nearly £2,000 in real terms to every single person here in the East. It will be felt by families from Kings Lynn to Great Yarmouth, giving them more security, peace of mind and hope for the future – and that's the number-one aim of our plan and of this Government.