Driving Economic Growth in Gloucestershire with New Government Support

Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
8th July 2024

Here at Business West, we look forward to welcoming our newly elected MPs to help make our region the best place to live, learn, and work. I have to say the initial reaction of our new MPs in Gloucestershire, supporting us in helping our local businesses, has been heartening.

We welcome the Labour Party’s commitment nationally to what they call “an enduring partnership with business” to deliver the economic growth and stability that is vital for our region. Growth is, of course, the holy grail. But it will not be easy to achieve unless we have a total commitment from the government to involve industry, trade unions, and civil society in delivering that growth. Business West believes that this region has a vital role to play in helping to drive UK productivity, increase our international trade, and power sustainable and inclusive growth.

We need ambitious plans to tackle our longstanding challenges to help kickstart economic growth. Those challenges include transport connectivity, housing, and planning. In Gloucestershire, a reformed and more rapid planning process is perhaps the key ask from our local businesses. Planning is inexorably linked to building more homes. In my view, our councils must press the new government to lift the cap on finance to build more council homes. I believe the government needs to invest far more in our young people. That means increased support for great FE colleges like SGS to enable them to provide more apprenticeships. Skills and their development are at the very heart of good growth with well-paid jobs. Business West’s ongoing work for the government on the region’s Local Skills Improvement Plans makes that crystal clear.

Let’s be absolutely realistic. Our new government will not be able to deliver on some of the big-ticket policies for business straight away. But their commitment to business is a good start. It seems there is now a plan behind their thinking for encouraging business and investment, which will, hopefully, provide the first steps on a journey to economic growth. We will be watching.

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