Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership has submitted its Strategic Economic Plan for Worcestershire to Central Government following an extensive consultation process that involved over 150 local businesses, local authorities and other public and third sector stakeholders.

This ensured that the Plan reflected all views and that any monies awarded from central Government will be spent on issues that will benefit Worcestershire's economy and job creation.

The Plan focuses on the creation of 25,000 additional jobs over the plan period, together with 10,000 apprenticeship places by 2016, the creation and development of 4 key 'gamechanger' major employment sites, a new Parkway Station and improved rail services, improvements to M5 motorway, particularly junction 6, 3 other major route improvement programmes and 14 key 'asks' of Government.

Independent advice on the plan was received from an expert panel, chaired by Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI. As the only LEP area of the 39 to do this, the process ensured that all proposals included in the Plan were fully scrutinised and challenged.

Ben Page said: "Worcestershire's SEP is based on firm evidence with a sound rationale for the investments outlined, which we critically appraised. The plans are a good example of a public infrastructure facilitating much larger private sector investment/growth."

At an event held in Worcester City Centre, Worcestershire’s SEP was sent off in style to Westminster in a Morgan sports car. Morgan are based in Malvern, Worcestershire. The SEP identifies how Worcestershire plans to encourage and ensure healthy growth over the next ten years. If the proposals are accepted, millions of pounds of investment will be awarded from the Government’s Local Growth Fund and European sources to encourage a step change in the area’s productivity.

Trish Haines, Chief Executive of Worcestershire County Council added: "Worcestershire has come a long way since the Worcestershire LEP was set up three years ago. We are a strong county with partners facing the same way and in agreement on all our key objectives. This comes through in the document and our strong business voice is one of our strengths.

“This is a great opportunity that could lever in millions of pounds of government money and lead to 25,000 extra jobs. We urge businesses to get behind this now as we don't believe there will be many more opportunities like this one in the future."

Peter Pawsey, Executive Chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "The challenge to produce the SEP has meant a mountain of work for the LEP executive team supported strongly by their consultants and by County Council staff. Everyone has responded brilliantly and I thank them all. This Plan which outlines the strategic direction for development and the economy of Worcestershire over the next five to ten years has been a valuable and vital exercise in itself, irrespective of funding requests. We have managed to marshal just about all the stakeholders and partners into a common theme and set of objectives for Worcestershire, which has been no mean feat."

Mark Garnier, MP (Con) for Wyre Forest, added: “The Worcestershire Strategic Economic Plan is perhaps one of the most important documents to come out of our county for a generation. This document forms the basis of the relationship between our county and the Government: a relationship that sets out the terms of how we see ourselves developing, and how the Government will help. When put into action, the SEP will boost the opportunity for a generation of Worcestershire’s schoolchildren. This is a commitment to improve local skills; to create 25,000 new, higher value jobs; and to provide the solid foundation for greater private sector investment in the county. This transformational proposal represents the bright future of our county, supported by all the county’s MPs committed to make sure it is delivered.”

Worcestershire’s SEP comprises over 200 pages but a summary document has been produced to highlight key points. Both documents are available via the WLEP website: http://www.wlep.co.uk/resources/.