Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely recently arranged top level talks with the Minister responsible for the government’s new Stronger Towns Fund, Jake Berry, to explore how the Island can benefit from the funding pot.
The fund, launched in March this year, is a £1.6billion pot designed to boost growth and give communities a greater say in their future after Brexit. It is targeted at places that have not shared in the proceeds of growth in the same way as more prosperous parts of the country.
Following the talks with Mr Berry on 6th June, which also involved Solent LEP Chief Executive Anne-Marie Mountifield, Bob said it was now up to the Island to make a strong case for funding.
Mr Seely said:
“Having been encouraged by the minister to apply for Stronger Towns Fund assistance, it is now up to the Island’s economic agencies, with my support to put forward the strongest possible bid.
“This could be a real game changer for the Island and if we are to bring about the regeneration the Island needs then we have to make the most of all the funding opportunities offered by the government.”
Ms Mountifield said:
“There are huge opportunities for growth on the Isle of Wight and the area is a hub for strategically important sectors to the Solent economy, including composite materials and their application in marine technology, clean growth and aerospace.
“It is in recognition of these opportunities, as well as the challenges our Island faces, that the Solent LEP has prioritised the Island for investment and provided a package worth close to £19m to date. We look forward to working with Bob and colleagues on the Island to build on this work through the Governments Stronger Towns Fund when it opens.
“Ahead of this, we are keen to secure feedback from businesses, residents and other stakeholders on the Island to inform the development of a Local Industrial Strategy for the Solent area and would encourage anyone interested in helping us to establish an ambitious vision for a future economy to submit their views through our online survey.”
The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SolentLIS and is live until 23:59 on Friday 19th July 2019.