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Paper 9 - 25 September 1998 Meeting 


25 September 1998



Report by the Chief Executive, Havant Borough Council and the Association's

Policy Officer


That the response at Annex 2 be approved.

1. The South East Regional Forum (SERF) has commissioned the preparation of an Economic Statement for the SERF region, in order to assist the work of the Regional Development Agencies (for S E England and the Eastern Region) in their key task of preparing economic development strategies.

2. The draft Statement has been produced by consultants under the overall direction of a SERF Officers' Group which, in turn, reports to SERF members. In its final form, it will be a statement of the region's key economic development priorities, and it will be augmented by a 'gap analysis' which will highlight work which needs to be done in order to achieve these regional priorities. The summary of Key Issues from the consultation draft is attached to this report as Annex 1.

3. The draft economic statement is inevitably somewhat "broad-brush". Sound sub-regional strategies will be one key to development of an overall strategy for South East England. Another key element will be the development of sound relations with London.

4. SERF have asked consultees a set of standard questions about the draft statement. The Policy Officer has produced a draft response to the SERF document in consultation with member authorities. However wider consultation is needed, particularly with other interests through the Hampshire Economic Partnership. This draft response, therefore, is inevitably brief and, like the draft Economic Statement, "broad brush". The draft Association response is shown in Annex 2 and members are asked to consider this response.

 Chief Executive, Havant Borough Council

 Policy Officer



1. What does your organisation consider to be the major strengths of the South East region? (Please list up to five)

a. Having at its centre, London as a world capital

b. A skilled and productive workforce

c. Accessibility to markets and suppliers

d. International ports and airports alongside the potential for an effective internal communications network

e. An attractive environment

2. What does your organisation consider to be the major weaknesses of the South East region? (Please list up to five)

a. Increasingly inadequate internal communications infrastructure to sustain the region's position within Europe

b. Skills shortages in some areas, and inadequate matching of workforce potential to job requirements

c. Development threats to the environment and the countryside

d. Unrealistic perceptions and information about the economic performance of different parts of the South East

e. Localised social exclusion

3. What does your organisation consider to be the key priorities for the RDA? (Please list up to five priorities)

a. Leading the development and implementation of a regional economic strategy, making best use of both EU and UK resources

b. Ensuring the provision of adequate infrastructure to sustain the region's position within Europe

c. Enhancing the development and application of skills relevant to future employment

d. Promoting business efficiency, investment and competitiveness

e. Fostering social, physical and economic regeneration

4. What does your organisation see as the main barriers to addressing these priority areas?

Distribution of national and European resources for economic development favour regions other than the South East. Lack of cohesion in the South East and its institutions.

5. How does your organisation feel it/SERF can assist the RDA in addressing these priority areas?

By mobilising local authority resources in a consistent and coherent way within an overall strategy agreed by all stakeholders. The development of sub-regional plans within an overall South East economic strategy would provide a manageable approach to addressing the diverse nature of the SE region.

6. How might your organisation be involved in preparation of an economic strategy for the South East region?

HIOW and its members would wish to be fully engaged in the preparation of the strategy working in association with the economic partnerships operating in the South-Central sub-region.

7. Does your organisation have any suggestions as to how SERF might take forward action to consolidate the identity of the South East region?

It will be important to work in association with other SE bodies who are promoting/ marketing the region eg South East Regional Investment Limited, the TECs and the Tourist Boards.

8. Does your organisation have any other comments relating to the Economic Statement?

a. We welcome SERF's initiative to establish a local authority statement about the economy of the South East and this initial attempt to outline the strengths and weaknesses of the economy.

b. We would wish to engage fully with the local economic partnerships in order to be more specific about the key priorities for the RDA.

c. Some member authorities have already submitted their own ideas, with specific suggestions (e.g. the introduction of scholarships to encourage students to study subjects critical to the economic success of the Region).

d. This exercise in consultation should be seen as a fore-runner of more substantial consultation between the RDA and the sub-regions.

Last update: 20/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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