Deal to give businesses a much stronger voice

Dave Muller

Dave Muller - Credit: Archant

Town Topics with Ipswich Chamber

More than 100 business leaders attended an Ipswich Chamber networking brunch at Shelley’s Restaurant in Suffolk New College recently, to find out more about the Greater Ipswich City Deal and how the Deal will support businesses in the future.

“The City Deal for Greater Ipswich will give business a much stronger voice to influence how Government funds are used and in particular to work towards developing higher level skills in the workforce,” said Professor Dave Müller, Principal of Suffolk New College and chair of Ipswich Chamber of Commerce.

Paul Winter, the CEO of Ipswich Building Society and chair of the Greater Ipswich City Deal Steering Group made a presentation on the City Deal proposals and led a lively question and answer session with businesses.

City Deals are struck between Government and local partners to:

• Put cities in control of economic opportunities and challenges

• Work across local authority boundaries and sectors

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• Give real power to local authorities so they can create economic growth

The proposals for Greater Ipswich focus on three key elements:

• Skills

• The coordination of business advice and support

• Infrastructure

The skills element will deliver locally responsive training, improved careers support, incentives to maximise local employer investment (in which the Chamber will have a managing role) and a youth guarantee.

“If we are to see improving economic growth in the area it will be driven very much better by a better trained and more skilful workforce,” Paul Winter said. “I am particularly supportive of the concept of the public and private sectors working together particularly where it includes the SME sector, which is so important to the local economy.”

A new Growth Hub for the Greater Ipswich area will be established under Chamber management to deliver better coordination of business advice and support, providing a ‘no wrong door’ approach and guaranteeing a single point of contact that can help direct all new enquiries and also help identify gaps where new services need to be commissioned.

Under the infrastructure element a number of key sites have been identified where fresh approaches and relatively modest investments might unlock growth including at Adastral Park and Ipswich Northern Fringe.

Negotiations around the City Deal for Greater Ipswich are underway with Government and are expected to conclude in the autumn.

Dave Müller

Chair of Ipswich Chamber of Commerce