SELEP outlines plans to help South East recover after £10bn cost of 2020

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has outlined its plan to help boost the region's economy after both the pandemic and Brexit.

It is estimated the economy in the region has been hit to the tune of £10billion during 2020 due to the Covid crisis with 47,000 more people unemployed by the end of the year.

Christian Brodie, chair of SELEP
Christian Brodie, chair of SELEP

SELEP chair Christian Brodie said: “The SELEP area is the UK’s global gateway with the business resilience and growth potential to kickstart economic recovery for all communities across the South East and the UK as a whole.

"Over the past decade, SELEP has created a coalition for growth with many businesses and partners, developing strong platforms to drive innovation and productivity across the whole of the South East.”

It adds that more deprived coastal communities have been hit hard due to their reliance on the most impacted sectors. In the South East, sectors that have seen the greatest impact in terms of estimated job losses include hospitality, with a potential drop of 22,100 jobs; retail, with a potential decrease of 9,200 jobs; and arts and leisure, with a potential drop of 6,600 jobs.

Its new economic recovery and renewal strategy sets out how SELEP will work with partners, across the private and public sector, to take "clear and decisive action to support a path to recovery and renewal and to make clear the opportunities and needs of the SELEP area".

Mr Brodie added: "By understanding the impact on our economy, we can capitalise on the opportunities that will best support our sectors and drive recovery and growth.

The cost of Covid for the South East last year amounted to £10 billion, according to SELEP
The cost of Covid for the South East last year amounted to £10 billion, according to SELEP

“SELEP understands that as the economy starts to build back, it needs to be done in a fair, sustainable and more resilient way, creating places that enable all people and businesses to prosper.”

The strategy will aligns with the government’s ‘Build Back Better: Our Plan for Growth’ published in March 2021. Which sets out three priorities of ‘infrastructure, innovation and skills’.

The LEP is also injecting an additional £85million into the local economy through its share of the government’s £900 million Getting Building Fund, which backs 'shovel-ready' projects that will stimulate job creation and growth in areas that have been most affected by Covid.

SELEP is due to launch a £4.4 million business support and skills fund in the coming weeks to strengthen this investment where it is needed most.

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