Essex needs to address a number of challenges and recommendations for it to reach its economic potential.
Enterprising Essex: Meeting the Challenge, a report commissioned by Essex Leaders and Chief Executives on the Essex economy was published today (23 March 2018).
The product of two years research, the report characterises Essex as an innovative and entrepreneurial county, but needing better connectivity, more premises for expanding businesses, and warns against leaving coastal communities isolated from the potential benefits.
The county is praised as a national leader on the number on start-up businesses, benefits from its close links to London, two international airports and ports which provide global opportunities.
But it makes 14 recommendations if it is to reach its potential as a UK powerhouse, including addressing specific skills shortages, improving roads and rail links and building more commercial workplaces.
The Essex Economic Commission was established in 2016 to gather evidence and provide recommendations as to how this county/region might realise its full economic potential, providing a stronger engine of growth for the UK economy. The aim of the Economic Commission’s first report was to review the strengths and weaknesses of the Essex economy.
Leading economist Dr Andrew Sentance CBE chaired the independent commission which consisted of 12 members made up of economists, business leaders and academics with a broad expertise across the fields of economics; housing and planning; education and skills; infrastructure development; SME development; technology, and innovation; and rural development.
Dr Sentance said: "Essex has many economic advantages and great potential. It is connected to Europe and the rest of the global economy through its airports and ports and by its proximity to London. There are well established transport links and there is a strong entrepreneurial culture.
“The economy of Essex is underperforming relative to its potential and action is needed including a more ‘joined-up’ approach to developing the Essex economy. Essex also needs to remove barriers to growth and improve the conditions which enable businesses across Essex to prosper.
“The skills deficit needs to be addressed and many of the issues facing skills and education development in Essex are national policy issues.
“Essex is a multi-faceted economy, with a number of substantial centres of activity across the county and a diverse range of sectors contributing to economic growth.
“The key to its economic success will depend on the ability of different local interests to work together to engage national policy makers and support broader economic growth.”
The fourteen recommendations can be found at www.essexgrowth.co.uk