Growth and investment
Buckinghamshire Growth Board
The Buckinghamshire Growth Board is a partnership group of key public and private sector partners to help in facilitating discussions about the future of Buckinghamshire. The Growth Board acts as single working forum that ensures the alignment and understanding of Buckinghamshire’s plans:
- climate change
- health and wellbeing
The Board will facilitate the development of Buckinghamshire’s strategic place-based initiatives and provide a single point of reference for engagement with the UK Government on local and regional challenges and opportunities. Its membership includes:
- Buckinghamshire Council
- Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
- Buckinghamshire Business First
- health and skills sector partners
- central government partners
The Growth Board has played a key role in overseeing the formulation of Buckinghamshire’s Strategic Vision for 2050, the development of the Buckinghamshire Recovery and Growth Proposition (emerging County Deal) and has also helped in steering the Bucks UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Buckinghamshire's strategic vision for 2050
As one of the most aligned county structures in England, the Buckinghamshire Growth Board has been working together to develop a strategic vision for Buckinghamshire.
The strategic vision explores the current strengths and opportunities present within our county and sets out our aims and ambitions to achieve a thriving, resilient, and successful Buckinghamshire.
These are centred around:
- successful businesses and careers
- vibrant and connected places
- thriving culture, heritage and natural environment
Our strategic vision has outlined Buckinghamshire’s unique identity and ambitions for our area. It expresses our partnership focus and commitment to addressing the challenges that coronavirus (COVID-19), Brexit, and climate change present for Buckinghamshire.
Having developed the strategic vision, the Growth Board are now engaging with stakeholders throughout the county that will be important in supporting the delivery of our objectives.
Find out more by reading Succeeding as a place: achieving our shared vision for Buckinghamshire to 2050 (PDF, 4.2 MB).
Working together for growth in Buckinghamshire
Through the Growth Board and other strategic forums, we collaborate with organisations across the county in working towards achieving economic growth.
In the Government’s annual assessment of LEPs in 2020, Buckinghamshire LEP was graded ‘excellent’ for delivery. Buckinghamshire Business First secures over £3 million annually to support all businesses in the county and represents 13,000 business members and 75% of the county’s private sector workforce. Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust was rated as ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding for Caring’ by the Care Quality Commission.
In addition, the collaborative partnership of the Buckinghamshire Growth Board agreed its Recovery and Growth proposition for central government and its Strategic Vision for 2050. This demonstrates how this cooperative effort is beneficial to the county and we will build on this and achieve much more together.
Find out more about the activities and programmes of our key strategic partners:
A County Deal for Buckinghamshire
Our proposal for a county deal follows on from the Recovery and Growth Proposal, continuing with the focus on the 3 themes of Place, High Tech Sectors and Skills. This opportunity has arisen due to the introduction of Government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. This Bill sets out the framework for local areas to request bespoke devolution deals from the Government.
The partners of the Growth Board are currently developing a proposal for the County Deal. A County Deal for Buckinghamshire will seek to accelerate recovery, provide investment for vital projects, and improve the delivery of important services. This deal also aims to introduce a devolved skills budget, along with local delivery of national employment programmes, for Buckinghamshire which will directly cater for communities and encourage growth across the county.
Buckinghamshire Shared Prosperity Fund
This is part of the £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) that has been made available for local investment and is part of the Central Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ commitment. The UKSPF has three key priorities that flow from the over-arching Levelling-Up commitment:
- Community and place
- Supporting localbusiness
- People and skills
Buckinghamshire has been allocated £7.9 million of this fund, with £2.2 million ring fenced by the Government for the Multiply (adult numeracy) program. Therefore, £5.8 million of core funding is available for Bucks UKSPF.
We shortlisted the county’s priorities from the broad UKSPF ‘menu’ using the Buckinghamshire Strategic Vison for 2050, Buckinghamshire Council Corporate Plan, and evidence of local Levelling-Up needs. A workshop was then held with key stakeholders that discussed the shortlisted priorities.
The following were submitted as part of the Investment Plan:
Communities and place
Community measures to reduce the cost of living, including measures to improve energy efficiency and combat fuel poverty and climate change.
Supporting local business
Strengthening local entrepreneurial ecosystems and supporting businesses at all stages of their development to start, sustain, grow, and innovate
People and skills
Employment support for economically inactive people: Intensive and wrap-around one-to-one support to move people closer towards mainstream provision and employment, supplemented by additional and/or specialist life and basic skills (digital, English, maths and ESOL) support where there are local provision gaps.
Courses including basic skills (digital, English, maths (via Multiply) and ESOL) and life skills and career skills provision for people who are unable to access training through the adult education budget or wrap around support detailed above. Supplemented by financial support for learners to enrol onto courses and complete qualification.
Buckinghamshire UK SPF Next Steps
Following Cabinet approval, we will focus on the deliverability of the investment plan and set out specific projects and activities to prioritise – whilst considering the right funding and delivery arrangements for each.
We will provide more information here when it is available.
Rural England Prosperity Fund
The Government has announced a new Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) amounting to £110 million. This fund will help in improving productivity and strengthening the rural economy and rural communities.
The REPF is a top-up of the UKSPF and is replacing LEADER funding and the Growth Programme which was part of the Rural Development Programme for England.
Buckinghamshire Council has been allocated £1.8 million of this funding, which is set to be delivered over two years (2023/24 and 2024/25).
The Council will be working with the stakeholders and partners to help identify the challenges and prospects for Buckinghamshire’s rural businesses and communities.