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  • Writer's pictureEastern Powerhouse

Press Release: MANIFESTO FOR THE EAST

The Next Government Must Back the East to Deliver Growth and Prosperity for the UK


A business led organisation for the East of England, has today launched its manifesto for the region. The Eastern Powerhouse is calling for the new Government, whatever its politics, to get behind the East of England and help realise its potential to deliver growth in world leading science industries, including agritech, biotech, clean tech, digital and energy, for the benefit of the UK.


The manifesto focuses on the key economic challenges facing the region and the policy solutions that can unlock growth, including:


§  Investment in key infrastructure including housing, transport and the supply and storage of water, with commitments to bring forward new reservoirs and the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement programme.


§  Reform of the planning process to speed up development and attract investment in the East.


§  Positive conditions for business growth with business rate reform and tax incentives for relocation and employer investment in skills training.


§  A pipeline of skills linking future skills to industrial strategy and priority growth sectors by investing in a regional skills observatory to identify and address skill shortages and skill gaps. 


§  An East of England Trade and Investment platform to expand the region’s global footprint, activating inward investment opportunities and exporting potential.





James Palmer, Chair of the Eastern Powerhouse, said:

“The East of England is already a 'world-leading' region. The East is best placed to deliver new growth in the key areas of renewable energy, science and technology. We will urge the next Government to recognise the importance of these industries and consider the detailed policy platform we have set out in our manifesto which is focused on what can be achieved here in the East of England.”


The manifesto also urges the next Government to strengthen and deepen devolution in the region. The Eastern Powerhouse argues that the East has lost out to other regions in England by having not agreed devolution deals. A new government should commit to further roll out devolution across the East, including greater control over local tax revenues, planning, skills provision, health and social care.





As part of a new settlement for County Deals and Mayoral combined Authorities the Powerhouse have suggested the introduction of whole-place Public Finance Initiatives (PFI) to enable effective place-making and fix to the broken public estate. A new government should revisit PFI, learning lessons from the past, to provide the finance to support whole-place development of social housing, hospitals and schools.


The manifesto also questions the need to strengthen regional governance when thinking about the appropriate scale needed to deliver infrastructure development across the East. The Eastern Powerhouse argue that the East is at a disadvantage when it comes to competing with large city Mayors, not just in London but in Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and elsewhere. The issue to be considered is whether a single ‘Mayor’ for the East is better than multiple Mayors, tied to smaller county boundaries. Failing agreement for a single elected role, a ‘Council of the East’ comprising directly elected leaders for all areas in the East should be formed.


A single elected Mayor or ‘Governor’ for the East. Responsible for nearly 7 million people, would become the second most powerful Mayor in the country.





Steven Lynch MBE, Executive Director of the Eastern Powerhouse, said:


“The next government has an opportunity to focus on the country’s key economic assets, many of which are distinctly present in the East, to meet looming societal challenges, and drive productivity. The missing piece in the UK’s productivity puzzle has been the inability to focus and harness institutional arrangements at the appropriate level, to lever investment, and to connect areas of opportunity and potential. With the right level of support the East of England can lead the regional growth agenda.”



Simon Kidney, small business owner (Eastern Powerhouse member), said:


“Business leaders in the region are looking for a change of course and a stable policy platform that is forward-looking, long-term, and enables far better decision making at the local and regional level. This will give confidence to businesses and investors.”



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