Leaders come together to tackle economic growth
Leaders come together to tackle economic growth

At the East of England LGA our vision is to support our local economies which collectively make up a strong pillar of the national economy. Investing in the area’s continued success is critical, not only in securing the future of our local economies and services, but also for national economic wellbeing.

On 22 February leaders from across the East, including council leaders and chief executives, MPs, representatives from the Local Enterprise Partnerships and universities, and ministers and civil servants came together at a Parliamentary Reception.  The reception, hosted by Jonathan Djanogly MP, was an opportunity to showcase the economic strengths of the East of England and make the case for much needed resources, powers and freedoms to achieve greater economic prosperity.

Speaking at the Reception Matthew Hancock MP said: “This is an incredibly good moment for us to meet as we are all in the middle of discussions about how powers can be devolved further to local areas.  This is an exciting time and we have to seize this opportunity”.

Mr. Hancock added that “… Powers and decisions have gradually moved away from local communities to [Whitehall]. This has been true of successive governments of all different political persuasions. There is a strong sense now, that for the first time in more than a generation, that has the potential to unwind.  It has already been unwinding in some parts of the country; in Scotland, Wales and Manchester.  We now have the opportunity in the East to be part of that revolution.”

Cllr Jason Ablewhite, Chairman of the East of England LGA stated: “In the East, councils are working closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships, businesses and central government to ensure that we remain a prosperous and competitive region. While it is clear to us that local partnership working is essential, challenges remain which need national support and collective action.  In particular, we need to see further investment in strategic infrastructure that will unlock economic growth and leverage additional private sector investment across the East.”

Cllr Ablewhite highlighted that the East of England can make an even bigger contribution to UK Plc if it is given the support and opportunities it needs to overcome key economic challenges.  These, outlined in our ‘Realising our Economic Potential’ prospectus, include:

  • The transport and road infrastructure across the East of England is in desperate need of modernisation
  • There is a growing gap between the number of housing development planning permissions granted by councils in the East of England and those actually progressed
  • There is a need to provide genuinely affordable housing that will support local communities and economies
  • There is a shortage in the sustainable provision of energy and water supply
  • The effective management of waste is at tipping point and landfill is unable to cope
  • There is a need to reduce the skills gaps within our economy.

Professor Tony Travers from the London School of Economics addressed the leaders of the East warning: “There is a risk that as rail developments take place in the rest of the UK, the East may get left behind.  Therefore, keeping the Government focussed on rail and road improvements in the East is increasingly important.”  

The East of England LGA will continue to champion the economic potential of the East. Our aim is to support our councils and their partners secure thriving and sustainable economic growth in the region.  Councils across the East of England are already engaging with Government to maximise the potential opportunity which devolution offers.  We are also working alongside colleagues from across the South East and London to strengthen cooperation on issues of strategic significance and to develop our evidence base to strengthen the economic argument.

 Read the ‘Realising our Economic Potential’ prospectus here.