What does Surrey need in the budget?

As regionalism declines and localism grows we find ourselves in an interesting situation in Surrey. We have two new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), one in the east and one in the west. Additionally we have the possibility of one for the whole County. They all have a tough task to fill the shoes of the activities SEEDA did to promote business growth. Whatever pans out its certain that the days of government funded economic development in the South East are virtually over so we will have to be innovative in what we do and how we work together.
The North has struggled to replace heavy manufacturing industries like steel and coal and the move to public sector employment was unsustainable. Therefore it’s clear that Regional Growth Fund (RGF) monies will inevitably go to the areas that traditionally struggle when times are hard.
However, we have to ask ourselves should investment in economic development be at the expense of areas that not only have the potential to deliver more but have a track record of actually achieving this? The South East, particularly Surrey, is the engine room of the national economy generating tax revenues for HM Treasury. Perhaps monies invested in key infrastructure such as the A3 around Guildford could not only pay for itself in increased productivity but also raise more tax revenues to help the North? Additionally world class broadband would make such a difference. It’s a shame but I can’t see it happening.
We have to focus on key areas to make growth happen. These are not only the obvious ones such as Innovation in all its forms and skills development, but also dealing with the issues that will drag us back such as youth unemployment, affordable housing and finding gainful employment for displaced public sector employees; particularly those in management positions whose purchasing power not so long ago was keeping the economy going.
We also need signs from the Treasury that those that do make the effort to innovate and grow businesses have the personal incentives to do so and have a tax regime that supports them for taking risks and investing. What we don’t need are discriminatory taxes that hold back the recovery in the South East in an effort to create an even playing field of mediocrity.

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One Response to What does Surrey need in the budget?

  1. Duncan Robert Mark says:

    “worldclass broadband” … that would be nice but we are currently on third world broadband. I really can’t see it happening. In 2002 I was living on a remote island in Japan and had a dedicated 100 Mbps fibre optic cable to my house provided by the equivalent of BT for a flat rate of 1o poounds per month. Now, in larger cities 1 Gbps is not uncommon. Can you envisage BT investing in that kind of real world class infrastructure?

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