Priority: Open for Business

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Summary

We will expand key strategic sites to deliver more highly skilled jobs and support further business expansion. Alongside this, the Council will continue to invest in unlocking growth at key transport sites including Shrub Hill and Redditch Railway Stations, support its partners and deliver further digital connectivity through the provision of gigabit broadband. The Council will also support its partners around plans for Future High Street Fund, Towns Fund and Levelling Up proposals.

Vision and Objectives 

Worcestershire’s economy is on course to have grown by one third by 2025 from 2015 levels. We’ve seen significant growth across key sectors with the County Council working more closely with the private sector than ever before and alongside our Local Enterprise Partnership. Being Open for Business is a key priority for the Council to continue this growth. Ensuring people and places are connected, physically and digitally, is vital to supporting continued economic growth, and unlock a further expansion in high-tech and knowledge intensive industries. A growing and thriving economy generates wealth for residents and businesses enabling them to fulfil their aspirations. More homes and business growth generates more income through Council Tax and Business Rates for the Council, helping us to invest in those things that residents and businesses tell us are important.

Our Plan for Growth 

A modern and dynamic economy, embracing new technologies and providing businesses and residents with more opportunities, will accelerate our recovery from the pandemic and attract further investment and opportunities to Worcestershire, whilst embracing the changing nature of work. This is key in attracting and retaining a highly skilled workforce locally. Partnership working continues to be the foundation of how we operate and is the reason we are successfully delivering against our 10-year Strategic Economic Plan for the County. Already, since its inception in 2015, we have seen Worcestershire’s GVA increase by £2bn, with 34,000 extra jobs and 17,360 new homes. 

We continue to engage and work closely with local businesses to understand their needs and how we can best support them to unlock their growth potential. Our pro-business approach has already paid dividends, with significant growth in strategic investment sites. With our strong track record and sector focus on advanced manufacturing, agri-tech and ICT, cyber security and defence, we will seek to attract higher-skilled, better paid jobs and highgrowth businesses to Worcestershire and provide the conditions to grow and prosper. 

Info graphic showing 2015 at the bottom with GVA £9bn, next 2025 with GVA £11.9bn and at the top 2030 with GVA £13.2bn

 

We will also support the continued growth in jobs in the key sectors of construction and heath and care. We will continue to champion Worcestershire in the region and on the national stage, through Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect, to raise our profile and attract further investment. key sectors of construction and heath and care. We will continue to champion Worcestershire in the region and on the national stage, through Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect, to raise our profile and attract further investment.

We will enable high growth start ups to expand and remain in the County in addition to providing direct support, advice and guidance to businesses seeking to grow and invest. We’ll also improve the level of skills across the County and ensure that they match the future economy.

A Connected County

We are leading the way in the transformation of Worcestershire’s connectivity. Having good transport and digital infrastructure is a pre-requisite to attract and retain high-tech and knowledge intensive businesses and building a resilient and dynamic economy for the future.

Our continued investment in transport seeks to better connect our places, our people and our businesses across Worcestershire and beyond. We continue to work closely with partners, including Midlands Connect, National Highways, the rail industry and other regional bodies to make the most of our geography and strategic assets.

The delivery of Worcestershire Parkway Station has opened up accessibility regionally and nationally for residents and businesses and will support delivery of a new settlement and employment opportunities. Our plans to improve the Cotswold Line will help deliver two trains per hour with reduced journey times and new services to Kidderminster and Droitwich.

We are leading the transformation of key transport gateways in Worcestershire – with the regeneration of Worcester Shrub Hill and Redditch railway stations being the catalyst to deliver mixeduse redevelopment and bring further jobs and opportunities to the County. Our investment along the Worcester Southern Link Road, Pershore Northern Link Road and A38 Bromsgrove, together with future plans for the Wyre Forest routes (A456, A491, A456) and A46 in Evesham, will unlock further investment and reduce journey times for those travelling around the County.

Alongside this, we will prioritise investment in digital infrastructure to provide gigabit capable broadband connectivity to 90% of our homes and businesses in Worcestershire by 2027, support improvements in mobile telecommunications and continue to explore leading edge digital technologies, such as 5G, for the benefit of the County. Embracing the digital revolution will support Worcestershire’s economy for the next generation and maximise opportunities associated with our changing ways of work and life.

Delivering Strategic Investment Sites

Worcestershire has a strong track-record in delivering key investment sites – including Worcester Six Business Park, Redditch Gateway and Malvern Hills Science Park. We are providing more employment land which has long been sought after by businesses seeking to expand in Worcestershire, and these sites have already provided 1,483,208 sqft of employment floor space across a broad range of industries.

We are committed to delivering the remaining plots at Redditch Gateway together with the southern extension of Worcester Six business park and the development of the wider Malvern Hills Science & Technology Park which will provide an additional 1,407,000 sqft of employment floor space, bringing more high-skilled jobs to Worcestershire.

Our ambitions for the County mean we will continue to work closely with partners to bring forward further strategic investment sites. These will provide flexible investment opportunities, and cater for major marketled investment, or as high-growth hubs for start-up businesses to expand.

Further investment in our employment sites and town centres is a key priority for the Council and our partners. The successful bids for Towns Fund, Future High Street Fund and Levelling Up Funding gave £38.4m for Kidderminster, £15.6m for Redditch, £14.5m for Bromsgrove and £37.5m for Worcester, which will help regenerate these towns. We will continue to seek funding to support further areas, including Evesham and Droitwich.

Investing in the Workforce

We know that having a high-skilled workforce is vital to supporting economic growth and attracts further investment – particularly in better paid jobs that are a priority to bring to the County to help increase the average salary of our residents. By 2027 we aim to increase the percentage of Worcestershire’s 16+ population having Level 3 qualifications or above. Alongside a broad improvement in skills, we will work closely with businesses and the education sector, including schools and local higher & further education providers, to ensure skills are aligned to the needs of the local economy.

We also want to attract and retain graduates to Worcestershire and reverse the trend of high-skilled people moving to larger cities and the South East. The move towards more flexible working, alongside our investment in transport and digital infrastructure, will support people living in Worcestershire to access jobs across the country. This will also encourage companies to start and grow in our County and we’ll work closely with them to support this development.

We will continue to champion work experience and apprenticeship schemes with businesses across the County and invest in young people’s futures. We’re working in partnership with the LEP to provide the Worcestershire Careers Hub, helping young people prepare for the world of work and bringing education and business closer together to ensure people learn the skills that best prepare them for the future.

How we will measure this

  • 90% of homes to have access to Gigabit capable broadband by 2027 
  • Increasing proportion of level 3+ skills amongst the 16–64 age group
  • Narrowing the gap in the average salary between Worcestershire and UK average
  • Increase jobs in higher value added sectors - % of jobs.
  • Reducing the journey times between the County and the economic centres of Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford & London.