The council leader has praised the prime minister’s industrial vision and says Cheshire East is ‘leading by example’ – attracting and nurturing hi-tech businesses.
Councillor Rachel Bailey was at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire East on Monday (21 May) to hear Theresa May say ‘UK global leadership in science and innovation is one of this country’s greatest assets’.
Cllr Bailey, welcoming the speech on Britain’s industrial strategy, said: “Britain has been a cradle of scientific achievement for centuries and here at Cheshire East, we recognise that such vision and innovation will be crucial for the creation of jobs and economic growth in the 21st century.”
Cheshire East is home to world leading hi-tech companies such as Waters, AstraZeneca, Bentley Motors and the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprize Zone – which includes the Alderley Park life-sciences incubator. It is also leading the way nationally in superfast broadband roll-out – with more than 95 per cent of homes and businesses connected.
The prime minister said in her speech at Jodrell Bank, in front of a backdrop of the iconic Lovell radio telescope: “Jodrell Bank is an icon of the UK’s tradition of scientific achievement and is today at the cutting edge of 21st century discovery. And as I look towards the future, that spirit of scientific inquiry, and its power to shape a better tomorrow, is at the heart of my vision.”
Mrs May announced that the government’s industrial strategy will make a commitment to take support for UK science and technology to ‘another level’.
She announced £7 billion in new public funding for science, research and innovation – the largest increase for 40 years.
The prime minister also announced the target of achieving a record 2.4 per cent of GDP invested in research and development by 2027. This could translate into an additional £80bn investment in the ideas of the future over the next decade.
Cllr Bailey said after the speech: “I agree with the prime minister that today the world stands at the threshold of a new technological age as exciting as any in our history.
“That’s why this council and its officers will not rest on the laurels of previous successes – but continue to work with our partners, both across the region and across industry, to take advantage of changes in how we live, work and do business, in order to reshape our regional and national economy and transform our communities in the years ahead.
“Key to this will be to the nurturing of people’s skills and delivery of modern infrastructure, such as fully-integrated HS2, to enable Cheshire East and the wider sub-region to deliver growth, jobs and rebalance the national economy.
“That way we can deliver a thriving modern economy and excellent quality of place for residents in a Cheshire East that continues to be a highly-desirable place to live, work, visit and do business.”
The economy of Cheshire East is already one of the best performing in the country, with the value of goods and services (GVA) produced in the borough per head 27 per cent higher than the UK average (2015 figures) and the highest performing English economy outside London and the South East.
Jodrell Bank not only represents cutting-edge science but also its heritage is world-leading, with its education and tourism offer a significant part of its future.
Cheshire East has long had strengths in science and technology but one of the fastest growing sectors is its creative and digital sector with more than 2,000 firms that employ around 7,500 people, as well as internationally-renowned design and digital businesses and innovative digital programmes such as Shift.
Cheshire East’s high-growth sectors are expected to be digital and creative industries, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, automotive and agri-tech, building on the world-leading clusters that are already in the borough.