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Region's MPs back Eastern Powerhouse in letter to Rishi Sunak

Eastern Powerhouse Letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP
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On 1st February 2023, more than 20 of the East of England's MPs have written to the Prime Minister urging him to take a strategic approach to the region so that it can realise its full potential. You can find the full text of the letter, below.

Dear Prime Minister,

RE: Independent Economic Review and a Spatial Analysis for the East of England

We write as Members of Parliament for constituencies in the East of England - an area of huge untapped potential - and as board members of the Eastern Powerhouse, the business led organisation that was set up to supercharge the region.

Over the summer, members of the Eastern Powerhouse wrote to you concerning the main factors that are hampering growth in the East of England, and also outlined a plan for growing the economy of the region by tackling these obstacles. Following this, at the leadership hustings event in Norwich, you committed to deliver one of the infrastructure projects that was flagged as a top priority, the Ely North railway junction. We were very grateful to you for this undertaking, which we trust remains in place, and hope it signals the beginning of a step-change in investment in the East.

Our earlier letter to you enumerated the economic dividends that can accrue to the whole of the country if a government led by you were to take steps to tap the significant potential of the East. The East can deliver the highest rises in growth and productivity for the least amount of investment, relative to other regions. The economic dividends for UK plc would be considerable. We estimate that, if the East of England were able to level up to the South-East (excluding London), we could deliver an extra £31.2bn a year in GDP for the national economy. That would mean £11.5bn of additional tax-take for the Exchequer, and an annual increase in disposable income of £3,100 for every resident in the East of England.

Today, however the East is losing out to other parts of the UK. It has received 40% less Levelling-Up funding than other regions and a much lower share of public investment. In 2020/21, transport spending in the East was just £678 per head, compared with £1,476 per head in London, and it currently sits below the UK average of £737. The East also has the lowest health spend per capita in the country (£2,974 compared with £3,271 nationally) and a lower-than-average national education spend (£1,357 compared with £1,428).

We are keen that your administration should work with the Eastern Powerhouse to deliver an independent economic review and a spatial analysis for the East, so that we can identify specific constraints on growth and seek to remove them quickly and effectively. We, as the business-led regional organisation in the East, ask for parity with the other regional organisations in the country and would seek similar levels of recognition and support from government. We want the Eastern Powerhouse to be a partner to Government in shaping policy for the major problems that are stifling our region. To this end, I would greatly appreciate a meeting to agree common objectives and priorities. We would be delighted to welcome you in the East, as and when your diary permits.

Yours sincerely,

James Palmer, Chair, Eastern Powerhouse On behalf of the following signatories:

East of England MPs

Matt Warman MP (coordinating the letter in Parliament)

Peter Aldous MP

Richard Bacon MP

Duncan Baker MP

John Baron MP

Paul Bristow MP

Anthony Browne MP

Jonathan Djanogly MP

Vicky Ford MP

Matt Hancock MP

Sir John Hayes MP

Oliver Heald MP

Tom Hunt MP

Caroline Johnson MP

Edward Leigh MP

Brandon Lewis MP

Jerome Mayhew MP

Stephen Metcalfe MP

Karl McCartney MP

Andrew Selous MP

Chloe Smith MP

Giles Watling MP

Eastern Powerhouse Advisory Board Members

Phillip Blond, Director, Eastern Powerhouse

Roz Bird, CEO, Anglia Innovation Partnership

Prof. Mario Caccamo, CEO, NIAB

Simon Darby, Director, East of England, PLMR Genesis

Martyn Fordham, Managing Director, Asynt

Sean Milbank, Chair, The Milbank Group

Cllr. Colin Noble, Councillor, Suffolk County Council and West Suffolk Council

Candy Richards, Development Manager, FSB

Drew Ritchie, CEO, Upp

William Rooke, Partner, Head of Eastern Commercial, Carter Jonas

David Ruddy, Executive Director Strategic Growth and Partnerships, West Suffolk College

Warren Salmons, Business Development, Morgan Sindall

Prashant Shah, co-CEO and co-founder, o2h

Matt Windle, Group VP and MD, Lotus Cars


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