25,000 jobs aim of economic plan

By Ian Dipple Friday 14 March 2014 Updated: 17/03 10:30

AMBITIOUS plans have been outlined which could see more than 25,000 jobs created in Worcestershire by the middle of the next decade.

The county’s economy will also grow by £2.9billion by 2025 under proposals contained in the county’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) currently being worked up by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire County Council. Without the plan it is estimated just 15,000 jobs will be created over the same period.

The document will be submitted to the Government at the end of March as part of the county’s bid for a share of a pot of £2billion to fund infrastructure, housing, skills and transport projects.

The aim is to drive growth by focusing investment in three sectors seen as Worcestershire’s key strengths - advanced manufacturing, agri-food and cyber-security - as well as building on tourism opportunities within the county.

Over five per cent of people in Worcestershire are employed in medium-high and high-tech manufacturing, the third highest in the country, while the sector accounts for 14 per cent of county’s economy.

This could particularly benefit Redditch which historically has a strong manufacturing base with more than a quarter of the borough’s workers employed in the industry.

Part of the plan is to focus on the council’s so-called ‘game changer’s sites, those which are believed can deliver the most growth.

They include the Eastern Gateway, some 29 hectares of land around the Winyates Green area, which will see the the building of a new business park to attract high tech research and development companies to the area.

Over the next ten years there will be more than £1.2billion invested into the county from both local and national government as well as the private sector. More than £56million of that will be ploughed into various projects during 2015/16 alone.

Coun Simon Geraghty, responsible for economy, skills and infrastructure on the council, said the plan was about ensuring Worcestershire could access money on offer so they could ‘do things in the economy that will make a difference’.

Coun John Campion, responsible for transformation and commissioning on the council, added the plan would create not only extra jobs, but better paid jobs for people.

“The sleeping giant is awakening, it’s the trumpeting of our ambition,” he said.

“No longer are we going to be content with being middle England, actually we are putting Worcestershire on the map.”

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