Succeeding as a place, succeeding as a country

A Letter from Martin Tett, Chair of the Buckinghamshire Growth Board

As Chair of the Buckinghamshire Growth Board, I am delighted to set out and support our highly ambitious Recovery and Growth Deal proposition for Government. Our proposal has been prepared as part of a collaborative ‘place based’ approach led by the Buckinghamshire Growth Board in the context of the need to rebuild our national economy at pace following COVID and two Lockdowns. It has a clear and deliberate focus on economic recovery. It builds upon our Local Industrial Strategy and Economic Recovery Plan by recognising the need to invest in Buckinghamshire as an area that can accelerate the kind of economic growth and wealth creation that supports a robust UK economy capable of delivering on a national ‘levelling-up’ agenda.

Buckinghamshire is an ‘aligned county’, with a shared geography between the Council, Local Enterprise Partnership, Healthcare NHS Trust, Clinical Commissioning Group and Buckinghamshire Business First. Our universities and further education providers are also closely tied in, giving us a unique ability to unite key organisations to deliver coherently for the benefit of all. This strong, collaborative model is fundamental in our intention to assist Government by bringing together health and wellbeing; the environment; economic growth; delivery of the right mix and tenure of new housing; digital accessibility; and connectivity on a ‘place basis. '

Importantly, Buckinghamshire has a proven track record and the strong, aligned leadership to ensure that ideas are turned into action, moving together at speed to deliver our ambitions. Those ambitions are simple; provide more land for our growth sectors and internationally recognised economic assets to thrive; focus a devolved skills budget on our key sectors and where there is the opportunity to retrain for the ‘new economy’; help create more and better-quality jobs; and accelerate the delivery of affordable homes to a greener standard. Combining these with a climate for innovation and flexible investment, we project that Buckinghamshire can add £10bn to the UK Economy by 2050.

Our proud history of supporting local and national prosperity stands us in an impressive position to deliver this. We are, as a county, the ‘entrepreneurial heart of Britain’ containing both global brands and large numbers of entrepreneurial small and medium sized businesses. We are home to world renowned economic clusters such as the Creative and Digital cluster, shaped around Pinewood Studios in the south, the space sector based around Westcott in the west and High-Tech engineering driven by the Silverstone Park and Tech Cluster in the north. All of this is underpinned by our outstanding education providers and a desire that growth should maintain and enhance our natural environment so that it can support prosperous and healthy future generations.

In conclusion, we believe that COVID has produced both a major economic challenge and opportunity for Britain. We can rebound and thrive by locally led and empowered growth. This cannot be done by slow, ponderous, ‘top down’ structures. Our proposal can be a blueprint for the country, moving at speed and with determination to deliver post COVID growth. In doing so we will increase the net contribution to HM Treasury, enable the ‘levelling-up’ agenda and deliver the bright economic future our country needs. Buckinghamshire has begun work to develop our proposals and stands ready to work with Government and partners to deliver them.

Councillor Martin Tett