At the LEP’s annual general meeting, chairman Stephen Parnaby set out a vision for the Humber focusing on the continued decarbonisation of the region, opportunities in clean growth and freeports, as well as the continued investment in the region – bringing in new jobs and businesses, also highlighting the spirit of collaboration that would see a continued strong partnership between those working on both the north and south bank of the Humber as they work towards a shared agenda for the economic future of the region.
The LEP also highlighted plans for a joint economic blueprint for the region set to begin shortly – the Humber Estuary Plan – which will build on the proposals set out in the Humber LEP’s Local Industrial Strategy. It will be owned by the region’s two LEPs and four local authorities through the Humber Leadership Board.
The event was held online, a first for the Humber LEP, and also featured a speech from guest speaker Matthew Fell, director of UK policy at the CBI, as well as case studies from their EU-funded projects and a panel of board members who answered questions from the virtual audience.
The AGM did not just focus on the future – but also looked back on the achievements of the organisation – both over the financial year 2019-2020, as well as the cumulative results of the LEP’s investment.
The LEP has so far secured more than £335m of UK Government funding to enable its partners to deliver projects that support its strategy.
Projects worth £204m of this have already been completed, leveraging £390m of other funding to make a total investment to date of £724m in the Humber. This has resulted in a total of 7,161 new jobs delivered.
The LEP works with the Government to set the strategy for £104m of European Structural & Investment Funds allocated to our area. When added to match funding, this will see a total investment of approximately £173m – with more than 5,870 new jobs to follow.
The AGM also featured the LEP’s response to the coronavirus since March 2020, highlighting work done by the LEP and the Humber Business Growth Hub in supporting the Humber’s businesses through this difficult time.
Speaking at the event, Mr Parnaby said: “What is clear to me is that our economic future lies in collaboration across the Humber estuary, working together to make the most of big opportunities coming our way. Over the last few years, north bank and south bank have been working more closely together, of which the LEP has played a major role, which is a good thing for everyone and particularly the future.
“The big opportunities we were all talking about before the pandemic – in offshore wind, industrial decarbonisation and developing a Freeport – haven’t gone away. In fact, work has continued on them throughout, and – as we’ve seen from recent announcements – the Humber is proving to be an attractive proposition for inward investment on that.
“Indeed, I can tell you that there is more on the horizon and the signs are good. When it comes to the kind of clean growth that will help the UK ‘build back better’ from Covid, nowhere has got greater potential than the Humber and that is well understood by industry and government.
“The sense of community we have here, and people’s willingness to help each other out, has never been more important.”
The LEP is continuing in its current form as the Humber LEP until March 31, 2021. After that, it will be reformed to only cover the north bank, but will continue to work with organisations on the south bank towards the shared prosperity of the region. The recruitment process for the chairman and board of the Hull & East Yorkshire LEP will begin shortly.
The LEP’s Annual Review, which sets out the organisation’s delivery, achievements and updates from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, is available to view online at humberlep.org/annualreview. The LEP’s AGM recording is available to view at humberlep.org/agm2020.