A renowned economist and former government adviser will chair a new commission looking at how the Essex economy can grow over the coming years.
Dr Andrew Sentance CBE is one of the country’s leading economists, having worked both as senior economic adviser to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and as a member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee.
He will chair the new independent commission made up of economists, business leaders and academics which will provide insight to council leaders on how and where the Essex economy can grow and where investment should be focussed.
Dr Sentance said: "Essex is an ambitious county and one that has a great deal of economic potential. I am delighted to have been invited to chair the new commission and we will be looking closely at the barriers to growth and the potential opportunities and reporting back on our findings."
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council cabinet member with responsibility for economic growth, added: "The Essex economy is already strong, so I am very pleased to support the launch of this new Commission which will provide us and our district colleagues with real tangible and credible evidence to help us target investment and make the economy even stronger.
“Importantly the commission is completely independent, it’s not aligned to any political party or organisation, but the quality and calibre of the membership will give us real insight that will help us meet our ambitions.”
Membership of the commission has been structured to ensure broad expertise across the fields of economics; housing and planning; education and skills; infrastructure development; SME development; technology, and innovation; and rural development.
David Burch, Director of Policy at the Essex Chamber of Commerce, backed the new commission saying: "This is an innovative approach to looking at the economy and I think will provide useful intelligence, not just for local authorities but also the wider business community.
"The Essex economy is a diverse one and bringing different businesses and sectors together alongside academics and economists will give us a real holistic view of the county’s economic strengths and weaknesses."
The commission has also received MP backing with Braintree MP James Cleverly giving his back to the commission he added: "There is now a great opportunity for Essex to speak with a united voice. The Commission brings together a really strong panel of independent experts who will help boost the economic development of the county.”
The commission will be hosted by Anglia Ruskin University and will run over the next three years.
Further details on the commission can be found via its website at www.essexgrowth.co.uk