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Strategic Economic Plan

We are currently charting out the next phase of funding and investment by refreshing our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP). A lot has changed since we first published our SEP in March 2014. Times change and we need to remain agile to drive through our vision for impactful growth for all in our area through the creation of a new strategy that will be successful in attracting the funding and investment we need to maximise economic, infrastructure and employment opportunity.

Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “SELEP’s Strategic Economic Plan will help us present the most compelling case to Government for greater investment and funding support which is why we want local businesses to help shape our plans.”

Attracting nearly £600m in funding, the success of the 2014 SEP

The first Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) was published in March 2014. It made the case for a Local Growth Fund investment from Government of £1.2billion, £200m a year, from 2015 to 2021, matched by private and public funds. Funds to be invested in a programme of activities across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock to transform business growth and infrastructure.

We were very successful attracting a total of £591m to deliver 78,000 jobs, 29,000 homes and attract a further £960 million extra investment into the South East.

In addition, successful bids by SELEP means that by 2020 it will have invested £161m from the EU’s European Structural and Investment Funds, including £71.6m in skills, education and lifelong learning, and improving access to employment for young people and enhancing social inclusion.

A new Strategic Economic Plan

Since the iteration of the 2014 SEP there have been many changes. It is therefore time to renew this vision, to realign it with national policy and funding frameworks and with local priority. The new SEP will need to:

  • Articulate a clear, compelling vision, strategy and action plan for our economy
  • Identify opportunities to collaborate to generate sustainable economic growth
  • Articulate the risks of overlooking the South East economy and address the stereotypes and misunderstandings, perceptions about London and the greater South East
  • Put forward a collective case for investment and a model for delivery
  • Take into account federated areas and fit with the formed partnerships

It will also need to take into account the changing environment:

  • A new approach to Industrial Strategy
  • The productivity challenge to the British economy
  • Skills shortage
  • Increasing emphasis on international trade
  • Slow wage growth
  • Tighter public finances
  • Ballooning consumer borrowing
  • Brexit
What have we done so far?

As part of the process of preparing the next South East of England Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Strategic Economic Plan, we have been consulting with a range of public and private sector stakeholders in East Sussex, Essex, Kent & Medway, Thurrock, Southend and the wider South-East of England about the opportunities they believe are important for the future of the SELEP Economy.

Throughout the summer of 2017 we collected a broad evidence base of national and local data and a range of responses to questions directly aimed at answering the question ‘what we would love the South East Economy to become?’ and ‘what should SELEP’s priorities be to help it add value to local plans and speak for business’.

During late 2017 and the first quarters of 2018 we have engaged with partners, thematic experts, businesses etc holding over 100 events; meetings, events, presentations on the agenda of the meetings of other organisations, to share our thinking to date and open up dialogue with all sorts of audience groups to hear their perspective, invite questions and record inputs. At an event in May 2018 held by Kent Invicta Chambers we were able to gather the commentary and inputs of over 100 businesses.

Evidence base

The evidence base report will help SELEP set out its strategic priorities and shape a well-informed SEP with a bold narrative and coherent plan. The aim is publish the SEP in late  2018.