Prime Minister Announces Regional Strategy For The East of England

I replaced Long Term Plan with Regional Strategy in this press release, at the prompting of Phil Morris.  We still have RS its just  change of terminology only, done by Whitehall as it was in Nicholas Ridlys and doesnt do the really important housing numbers bit any more.  Just as top down, no longer regionally owned.  Not joined up.  Not meeting the need for homes.  Apparently the long term plan is to spend a lot of money on housing and infrastructure, rather than reducing the deficit.  If only it was (a lot of these in recent weeks including one for Portsmouth announcing half a billion defense spending as the ‘plan’ for the town, when of course defence spending is going down.

Jobs, transport, science, agri-tech, energy and defence are at the heart of the six point regional plan for the East of England

The Prime Minister today set out his six-point Regional Plan for the East of England showing what has been delivered, what is underway and what more can be done to make the regional economy prosperous in the long term.

In a speech at Felixstowe Port, the Prime Minister set out the detailed plan as part of a day long tour of the region. The plan aims to:

  1. increase the long term growth rate of the East of England to at least the long term growth rate of the whole UK, adding more than £12bn in real terms to the East of England economy by 2030. This is equivalent to nearly £2,000 more per person compared to the East continuing on its long term average growth path
  2. create 250,000 extra jobs in the East of England by 2020, by backing the new and existing strengths in industry in the East, business investment and new start-ups
  3. take forward £4.2bn of investment in transport in the East of England, boosting road and rail connections across the East – including widening the study into the East-West rail line, looking at the case for electrifying the rail line from Felixstowe to Birmingham, reaching an important milestone in delivering the new East Anglia rail franchise, and delivering on road improvements, including the A11 and the A47
  4. build on the East’s world-class science and technology base by supporting universities and high tech industries, and maximise the East’s role in defence – including funding the Cambridge Science Park Technology Centre, welcoming exciting new science projects such as the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway, and cementing the East as the first line of defence at home and abroad with the RAF’s fast jet hub
  5. capitalise on the inherent strengths of the East, boosting the rural economy and reaping the benefits of the more than £50bn that will be invested in the energy sector over the next 20 years, in offshore wind farms, oil and gas exploration and extraction, and nuclear energy. This includes backing agri-tech, plans for new Food Enterprise Zones for the food industry, and the potential expansion of the energy Enterprise Zone at Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft
  6. ensure a better quality of life in the East, supporting the construction of over 15,000 new homes, making improvements to local education so that over 90,000 more pupils attend outstanding schools, and backing culture through investments in local sights and encouraging more regional protected food names

There are no quick fixes to achieving these important goals, so the Prime Minister and Chancellor are also setting out a specific timetable to deliver the key concepts of this plan over the five years of the next parliament, and the following decade. As important next steps in the plan for the East of England, the Prime Minister announced a number of new measures to improve transport links and invest in the science, defence, and energy sectors:

  • exploring the case to electrify the Felixstowe to Birmingham railway line, launching a new competition for the new East Anglia franchise, considering reviving the Wisbech-March-Ely line and welcoming £260m new private investment at Felixstowe Port
  • government will also extend the study already underway of the East-West Rail (Bedford to Cambridge) to explore the options for the Eastern section of the line and consider the possibility of a new station south of Cambridge at the new Addenbrookes campus
  • new funding for the new Science Park technology centre in Cambridge and backing exciting proposals that aim to turn science into growth, such as the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway. The long term plan will also cement the East as the first line of defence at home and abroad as the RAF’s fast jet hub
  • we will support the secondment of thirty excellent middle leaders to work in challenging schools in the East to help raise standards in the region’s schools
  • the plan backs jobs and marine expertise in Lowestoft by developing long-term plans for CEFAS. We will support the unique strength of the East’s food industries through Food Enterprise Zones and increasing the ambition for Protected Food Names
  • the government is inviting the energy Enterprise Zone at Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft to build on its contribution to the local economy and consider expanding its activities, taking action to ensure that local businesses are able to access the supply chain for Sizewell C, providing support to the gas sector in the region, and tackling skills barriers across the energy sector

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have set out clearly, the only way for the UK’s recovery to be truly sustainable is for it to be truly national. While the challenge is significant, so is the prize ahead. By pursuing this plan the Prime Minister and Chancellor aim to achieve real outcomes for the people of the East of England who have already seen the fastest employment growth in England outside of London under this government.

The Prime Minister will be visiting a variety of businesses and institutions across the East of England to hear how the government’s regional plan is delivering for them and what more can be done to support the region.

Prime Minister, David Cameron said:

Our regional plan is working in the East of England. The region has 80,000 more businesses and the fastest growth in employment in England outside London. Nearly 200,000 more people have the financial security that a job and regular pay-packet bring since 2010. I am determined to go further and we will keep working through our plan to secure a brighter future for hardworking people across the East of England by making the most of the region’s strengths in science, defence and energy, ensuring we have world-class infrastructure and backing business to create more jobs.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:

The East of England is growing and creating jobs and on many measures is doing so more quickly than other parts of our country. We need to maintain this which is why the Prime Minister is today outlining the next steps in our long term economic plan for the East of England. That plan aims to deliver 250,000 new jobs and boost the East of England’s growth by over £12 billion.

Timetable for Action – Implementation in the East of England 2015-2030

2015

Employment and productivity

  • in the £48.5m expansion of the New Anglia Growth Deal, announced 29 January, government committed to:
    • supporting the expansion of the flagship Growing Business Fund to help ambitious SMEs to grow and create new employment
    • supporting innovation within Norfolk and Suffolk by building Innovation Centres in Ipswich and King’s Lynn, providing the right environment for innovative business to set up and grow. This includes the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre, which will house 15 new businesses, and the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre
  • through the £22.3m expansion of the Hertfordshire Growth Deal, announced 29 January, government has made £19.63m of borrowing available to Dacorum Borough Council at the Public Works Loan Board project rate to support regeneration in Hemel Hempstead. The proposed projects, which will bring additional employment, housing and leisure uses together with substantial urban realm improvements, are part of a holistic plan to regenerate Hemel Hempstead’s town centre
  • on 29 January, government announced a £46.1m expansion of the South East Growth Deal. This includes support for the regeneration of the town centre in Purfleet, linked to investment in new film, TV, media studio development. In the initial phase, this project is expected to create up to 530 homes and 200 jobs

Transport and connectivity

  • government’s rural broadband programme has seen over £100m of public money invested in the East of England, with almost 300,000 more premises now able to access superfast services
  • Cambridge is one of the UK’s 22 Super Connected Cities. SME broadband connection vouchers are available in the city, and wifi will be live in 91 public buildings by March.
  • broadband connection voucher scheme is now also available in Peterborough, and will be available in Norwich and Ipswich from 1 April
  • BT will begin trialling their ultrafast G.Fast technology, which can provide speeds of up to 500mps, in Huntingdon in the summer of 2015
  • The new East Coast franchise, starting in March 2015, will benefit all passengers between London and Edinburgh, with upgraded train interiors being introduced from 2015 to 2017
  • Road Investment Strategy announced at Autumn Statement 2014 will see £15.7bn committed to new and existing schemes nationwide, starting from 2015. £3bn of that will be spent in the East
  • Port of Felixstowe are investing £60m to upgrade berths 8&9 to accommodate the largest container ships, with this work in progress during 2015. In future they will also be investing £200m to construct a wholly new berth, the port’s tenth
  • government has committed to Local Growth Funding for 2015, through a number of Eastern Local Growth Deal allocations, including £4m for a new Eastern Relief Road in Bury St Edmunds, investment in the A414 Maldon to Chelmsford Route Strategy, and £3m for redevelopment at Bourges Boulevard, Peterborough, including improved access to the railway and bus stations
  • work will begin on the A5-M1 Link road – a new junction 11A on the M1 north of Luton plus a road linking to the A5 north of Dunstable
  • Postwick Hub A47 junction improvement is due to complete in October 2015
  • Ipswich Town Centre Transport Package is due to complete in September 2015. This is an integrated package of changes to the town centre bus interchanges; expansion and improvement of other bus facilities; an Urban Traffic Management and Control system; a Real Time Passenger Information system; and a detailed programme of improvements to walk/cycle routes and crossings in and around the town centre

Science, technology and education

  • As part of the £22.3m expansion of the Hertfordshire Growth Deal, announced 29 January, the government will:
    • support a scientific Knowledge and Innovation Hub at the University of Hertfordshire that will integrate Knowledge Transfer and Doctoral Training Programmes in an incubation facility attached to the University’s School of Life Sciences;
    • support redevelopment of the Oaklands Welwyn Garden City campus to include a STEM centre; and
    • support the development of a North Herts College Design and Innovation Centre
  • Cambridge University Maxwell Centre for physical sciences completion is expected by October 2015. The new facilities will provide the space and environment for research scientists from industry to collaborate with university research groups to address both shorter term industry challenges and more exploratory blue skies research. The project also aims to increase collaboration with SMEs and act as a hub for doctoral training. £63m project with £21m government contribution from the Research Partnership Investment Fund
  • government has already opened 573 academies, 30 free schools, 6 University Technical Colleges and 5 studio schools in the region over this parliament. This commitment to education will continue with another 61 academies, 8 free schools and 1 University Technical College due to be established. It is estimated that the new free schools and UTC will provide another 4,865 school places between them

Agri-tech and rural economy

  • a total of £49.18m has been invested in the East of England between 2010 and 2015 under the Rural Development Programme. This funded schemes including the Rural Economy Grant, Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme and Flood Recovery Fund – all help support and grow the regional economy. Some of the projects funded include:
    • £422,000 to provide commercial kitchen space for local artisan food producers and educational facilities at the Suffolk Cookhouse Project – creating 33 new jobs and benefiting 12 businesses
    • £761,000 to build an advanced grain processing facility and extra storage capacity at Yaregrain PLC in Norfolk to improve the quality of cereals supplied to key customers. 53 farm businesses are using the facility, with 2 new jobs created.
    • £125,000 to build an irrigation reservoir for an arable farming business (Charles Wharton Ltd) in Norfolk. The reservoir increased the irrigable area by 235ha, safeguarding 6 jobs and raising profitability
    • £163,000 to the Stoke by Nayland Resort Project in Essex in order to transform a 3-star hotel into a 4-star international golfing resort. This increased overnight stays, created 4 new jobs and safeguarded 10 more
    • Between 2015 and 2020, the East of England will benefit from its share of over £3bn of funding for environmental schemes and £141m for farming and forestry productivity under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. While this money is yet to be allocated, priorities for investment by the regions LEPs include:
    • Support for vocational training
    • Investment in infrastructure
    • Farm and business development
    • Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services
    • Basic services and village renewal in rural areas, such as renewable energy, energy saving, broadband infrastructure, tourism
  • East of England will also receive a further circa £47.45m from European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development via the Local Enterprise Partnerships and the LEADER Local Action Groups
  • £3.2m from Regional Growth Fund in 2013 was used to create the Eastern England Agri-Tech Growth Initiative to invest in new market and supply chain development, essential skills training, and the progression, application and commercialisation of R&D across the Eastern area. In 2014, £0.5m of this grant was awarded to the Agri Gate Research Hub to develop a new agri-tech innovation centre in Soham. In total, there is a planned investment of £1.76 million into the new scheme over the next three years. The project, led by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), will provide a facility for farmers & growers, food businesses, schools & colleges and other users to complete applied research work to reduce waste in the food chain and improve production efficiency, creating a link between research generated by the major research organisations in the region and end users, ensuring that local businesses remain at the forefront of technical developments. Overall, the project will create 77 new jobs, 15 apprenticeships and safeguard 148 jobs, with further growth across the industry as a result of the research undertaken at the Hub
  • government will commit £1.5m to help plans get off the ground for the redevelopment of Drill Hall in Great Yarmouth to support a dedicated circus and street art development centre. The project aims to regenerate the surrounding area through providing community spaces, increased tourism and developing derelict land. Energy and coastal communities
  • thanks to government’s field allowance for large shallow water gas fields, the Cygnus project is due to start producing gas later this year. The project is driving £1.4bn of investment, supporting more than 4,000 jobs
  • on 29 January, the government announced a £48.5m expansion of the New Anglia Growth Deal. This includes:
    • support for developing the skills of local people by creating a skills programme and also building a new Engineering and Innovation Technology Centre at West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmunds. This new centre will provide more apprenticeships, training for employees and full-time higher education focused on the energy, engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors
    • additional funding for the Growing Places Fund and further investment in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone, to develop the energy sector.
    • development of flood defences at Lowestoft
  • homes across the region will be better protected from floods thanks to an unprecedented six-year £2.3 billion flood defence programme, announced at Autumn Statement, providing better protection for at least 300,000 households nationwide by 2021. The programme will also support economic recovery and growth, working alongside partners including private companies, local planning authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). It will help avoid over £30bn in long-term economic damages. A wide variety of flood risk management schemeswill be delivered, including work to improve flood storage and to prevent tidal erosion. Examples of new schemes include:
    • 17 schemes that will be led by Internal Drainage Boards (IDB) and will deliver improved flood protection to 2,800 properties for £18 million of government investment. This includes Islington Flood Risk Management Scheme delivered by Kings Lynn IDB that will protect 820 residential and commercial properties
    • first project supporting the Wash East Coastal Management Strategy will be developed in partnership with the Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk and the local community. This project will look to provide continued protection to 570 properties and 4,500 static caravans
    • new phase one Flood Risk Management scheme at the Thames Estuary is attracting over £62 million in Grant in Aid funding between 2015 and 2021. This scheme consists of a number of flood risk management activities that will protect communities, homes and businesses located along the estuary
    • new tidal works, attracting over £17 million in government funding, will help protect homes and businesses in Great Yarmouth. Many people were affected by the tidal surge last December and this continued investment will help protect them from high seas in the future
    • £18.6 million of government funding will continue the investment in delivering a new coast protection scheme for Clacton-on-Sea and Holland-on-Sea. These defences will protect homes and businesses along a 6km stretch of the coastline and encourage further regeneration of the area
    • £7 million of government funding is set to be contributed to a new flood defence scheme at Lowestoft which will help protect around 840 properties
  • Continuing government commitment to building more houses in the East of England:
    • Affordable Homes programme has invested £442m to deliver 22,380 affordable homes in the region
    • through Help to Buy, over 9,000 households have been supported into home ownership in the East of England
    • The Get Britain Building scheme has committed to an investment of £11.9m which enabled work to start on 379 new homes in the East of England
    • HCA Land Programmes have invested £47m to support local economic growth and regeneration in local communities, and has seen work start on 1,539 homes (1,402 of which have been completed)
    • Builders Finance Fund – First starts on site for schemes during 2015. Bids have been received for £44m of funding which, if successful, will deliver up to 735 new homes
    • Local Growth Fund/Large Scale Infrastructure Fund – Projects will be approved and contracted during 2015/16
    • Large Sites infrastructure Fund – First schemes to contract in early March 2015

2016

Transport and connectivity

  • September 2016 Network Rail Initial Industry Plan for the five years of funding from 2019 onwards will be informed by a Network Rail study looking at the costs and benefits of electrifying the railway between Felixstowe and Birmingham
  • government will explore the case for electrification from Felixstowe to Birmingham, with a report expected in 2016
  • government is launching the competition for the new East Anglia franchise by issuing the OJEU notice (in 2015) which sets out the government’s strategic intentions for this line during the next franchise period. This is the next step in supporting the key recommendations of the Great Eastern Main Line Task Force. Bidders for the new franchise will be incentivised to submit plans for achieving a reduction in journey times from Norwich to London to 90 minutes. The specifications of the timeline will be released to bidders in August 2015 and the new contract will commence in October 2016
  • work will begin on the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon – a major upgrade to the A14 between the A1 and north Cambridge, widening the road to three lanes, providing a new bypass around Huntingdon, creating distributor roads for local traffic and remodelling key junctions along the route
  • government is extending in 2015 the study already underway of the East-West Rail (Bedford to Cambridge) to explore the options for the Eastern section of the line. Specifically the study will consider how East West Rail could connect Oxford with Ipswich and Norwich. The study will also consider the possibility of a new station south of Cambridge at the new Addenbrookes campus, with a report expected in 2016
  • government has committed to additional Local Growth Funding between 2016 and 2021, through a number of Eastern Local Growth Deal expansions, including: £38m for Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership which will include contribution to the construction of a new Ely Southern Bypass; improvements to access and reduced congestion in Chelmsford city centre as part of a £46 million expansion of the South East LEP Growth Deal; £5m towards the A13 Widening project in Thurrock, Essex

Science, technology and education

  • Cambridge Science Park Technology Centre, which is benefitting from a £4.8m government investment, is expected to open for business in September 2016. It will create 160 jobs in high-tech small businesses, with continual churn of new businesses every 5 years
  • as part of government’s £300m investment, infrastructure work will continue at RAF Marham in order to get it ready as a base for the new Joint Strike Fighter fleet
  • expected completion in September 2016 of the Cranfield University Aerospace Integration Research Centre. This world-leading research capability in aerospace systems design and integration will research innovative aerospace technologies with the aim of achieving ambitious performance, emission control and efficiency targets for future aircraft. It is a £30m project with £10m government contribution from the Research Partnership Investment Fund
  • Cell Therapy Catapult’s manufacturing centre will be built on the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst campus. This is a £55m state-of-the-art manufacturing centre that is expected to create up to 150 jobs, generate £1.2bn of revenue by 2020, and drive economic growth in the county

Energy and coastal communities

  • Cygnus project is expected to supply 5% of UK gas production by in 2016, enough to power over 1.5 million homes in Britain
  • key flood defence work is expected to see investment of approximately £22.6m in financial year 2016/17
  • ongoing investment in essential waste management infrastructure through PFI credits in the East of England will amount to £67.1m in financial year 2016/17
  • further schemes under the Large Sites Infrastructure Fund will proceed to contract by March 2016

Quality of life

  • 30 excellent middle school leaders undertake one-year secondments to challenging schools in the East of England

2017

Transport and connectivity

  • superfast broadband will be available to 95% of premises nationwide
  • completion of the A5-M1 Link road – a new junction 11A on the M1 north of Luton plus a road linking to the A5 north of Dunstable. This will serve as a diversion for the A5 through Dunstable, allowing strategic traffic to bypass the town

Science, technology and education

  • as part of government’s £300m investment, infrastructure work will continue at RAF Marham in order to get it ready as a base for the new Joint Strike Fighter fleet
  • government has committed to rebuilding 15 schools in phase 1 of the Priority School Building Programme by 2017, with the capacity for around 13,886 places
  • £55m Cell Therapy Manufacturing Centre expected to become operational in Stevenage

Energy and coastal communities

  • key flood defence work is expected to see investment of approximately £16.8m in financial year 2017/18
  • ongoing investment in essential waste management infrastructure through PFI credits in the East of England will amount to £73m in financial year 2017/18

2018

Transport and connectivity

  • IEP trains start service on the East Coast Main Line – the Intercity Express Programme represents a £2.7bn investment into new rolling stock, maintenance depots including a full maintenance regime serving the East Coast Mainline, increasing the number of seats during morning peak into Kings Cross by 18%. Passengers will benefit from more reliable services, more seats, increased luggage space, faster journey times (from 2019), and improved wi-fi and mobile coverage
  • Thameslink will enable 24 trains per hour to use the route through central London enabling services from the East Coast Main Line to use the route

Science, technology and education

  • RAF Marham will be ready to receive the first Joint Strike Fighters to arrive in the UK, following infrastructure works as part of a £300m government investment
  • HMS Queen Elizabeth will begin sea trials for JSF. JSF will be based at RAF Marham
  • The Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease is expected to be complete by March 2018. The Institute has three interrelated ambitions: to drive therapeutic breakthroughs in immune-related diseases; to explore new strategies for the control of globally important pathogens; and to increase the likelihood of discovering important, high value, new medicines. £88m project with government contribution of £25m from the Research Partnership Investment Fund

Agri-tech and rural economy

  • by 2018, £1.76m will have been invested in Agri Gate Research Hub’s a new agri-tech innovation centre in Soham. The project will have provided a facility for farmers & growers, food businesses, schools & colleges and other users to complete applied research work to reduce waste in the food chain and improve production efficiency, creating 77 new jobs, 15 apprenticeships and safeguarding 148 jobs, with further growth across the industry as a result of the research undertaken at the Hub

Energy and coastal communities

  • key flood defence work is expected to see investment of approximately £23.3m in financial year 2018/19
  • ongoing investment in essential waste management infrastructure through PFI credits in the East of England will amount to £97.1m in financial year 2018/19

2019

Transport and connectivity

  • completion of upgraded railway junctions at Ely and Peterborough and capacity enhancements on the Felixstowe – Birmingham line that will enable both growth in Port of Felixstowe container traffic to be met and growth in Kings Lynn and East Coast main line passenger services
  • Crossrail will provide significant additional capacity from Essex across London to Heathrow and Maidenhead

Energy and coastal communities

  • key flood defence work is expected to see investment of approximately £23.2m in financial year 2019/20
  • ongoing investment in essential waste management infrastructure through PFI credits in the East of England will amount to £99.1m in financial year 2019/20

 

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