Board members of Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Parternship (SWLEP) have met Business Secretary Vince Cable to discuss economic growth and job creation in Swindon and Wiltshire.
Mr Cable, pictured, held the discussions with SWLEP chair Paul Johnson and members of the SWLEP board, including both the leaders of Wiltshire and Swindon councils Jane Scott and Rod Bluh, shortly after he visited Honda’s Swindon plant last Friday to announce new investment. Also on the agenda was funding support for the Porton Science Park project at Porton Down, near Salisbury.
It was a chance for Mr Cable to listen to the challenges that the area is facing, as well as the momentum the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership has built up in the six months since the board was formed.
The key topics of discussion included:
• The challenges faced in attracting and retaining foreign direct investment.
• Support for the increasingly attractive Porton Science Park project from the Regional Growth Fund.
• Government support for the LEP’s economic growth plans.
• Apprenticeship initiatives in the area; specifically the LEP’s role in such schemes and the need for more SME’s to be engaged in this.
SWLEP chair Paul Johnson said: “The board was delighted that Vince Cable was able to spend time with SWLEP, discussing its progress, issues and priorities. The timing of the meeting was opportune, allowing us to present the case for the Porton Science Park proposal, just before the final evaluation of the Regional Growth Fund application for the project. In addition the LEP were able to emphasise the importance of the Swindon and Wiltshire M4 economic corridor, with a view to attracting future inward investment and funding.”