The vision for Cornwall’s future post-Brexit has been set out in 10 opportunities that could help set our economy apart from the rest of the world.
Cornwall’s potential in developing sectors such as eHealth, tech, marine, energy and aerospace, alongside our traditional sectors such as mining, agriculture and tourism have been laid out in a new document aimed at proving to the Government that Cornwall has huge potential for investment post-Brexit.
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has created the document to ensure Cornwall remains high on the Government’s radar and keeps creating and attracting future investment.
Aerial Photo of St Ives in Cornwall taken from an airplane. Cornwall is not just an area of outstanding natural beauty which attracts plenty of tourists, it has a thriving high tech economy (Image: iStock)
The LEP, the smallest of all 38 LEPs in the country has published a prospectus focusing on 10 key sectors which can play a critical role in growing the economy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly now and in the future.
LEP bosses said the document will be used to get Ministers and investors on board as the Government implements its Industrial Strategy. The strategy sets out how it wants to build a Britain ‘fit for the future’, with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure to create better, higher paid jobs.
Mark Duddridge, chairman of the LEP, said 2018 was the year of opportunities and would be pivotal to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Mark Duddridge is the chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP
In his blog on the LEP’s website he said the economic landscape is changing and new industries are emerging.
He said: “Our region is poised to be at the forefront of a new technology-driven economy, attracting investment and jobs as the Government reshapes its economic agenda for a post-Brexit Britain.
“That’s not rhetoric. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have a unique set of industry specialisations – some new and some well-established – which are growing or rapidly emerging as competitive strengths.
“Traditional industries like marine and mining are embracing technology to create new opportunities, while our tourism industry remains the envy of the UK.”
Mining has been one of Cornwall’s traditional sectors for many decades and is set to enjoy a revival as strong lodes of tin, tungsten and lithium have been discovered
He added: “Massive investment in digital connectivity has spawned one of the fastest growing tech clusters in the country and is the bedrock on which many of our digital and creative businesses are built. Both these sectors are growing twice as fast as the UK economy.
“Many of our assets – either natural or man-made – are aligned with emerging economic opportunities, whether that’s lithium in old mine water, geothermal energy in our granite, tracking satellites in space, or commercial spaceflight from Cornwall Airport Newquay.”
Called ’10 Opportunities’, the LEP’s prospectus showcases how technology is helping to drive new industries like space, e-health and marine energy, and can transform existing sectors like agriculture and mining.
It makes the case for the region as a test-bed for new ideas and policies, from the creation of a smart grid on the Isles of Scilly, to trialling a new VAT regime for tourism businesses, to being a pathfinder for the rural rollout of 5G mobile technology.
The space sector in Cornwall is thriving and there are great hopes that Cornwall will be chosen to host the UK’s first spaceport
It calls for the creation of a Creative Enterprise Zone to capitalise on a sector that is already growing at twice the rate of the UK economy, and for an agri-food ‘sector deal’ that could make the whole of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly a Food Enterprise Zone offering investment and tax breaks to business.
Mr Duddridge added: “We should be the workplace of choice for fast-growing sectors like digital tech and creative industries.
“We can be a global resource for lithium and rare minerals – crucial to driving the tech and electric car revolution. We can pioneer new ways of generating clean energy from our granite and our seas.
“We can help feed the world sustainably through new agri-tech and satellite applications. And we can be home to the UK’s first spaceport, offering commercial space flight by 2020.
“That’s why we’re pitching a 21 Century economy to Government and investors that shows off our strengths and sells opportunity.”
While the LEP’s 10 Opportunities vision for Cornwall has been welcome by business leaders, there are still major challenges lying ahead so this investment in new technologies works for the good of everyone in Cornwall.
eHealth is one of the sectors Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly LEP is promoting with the government and businesses around the globe (Image: iStock)
In his blog, Mr Duddridge added: “The potential social benefits of economic growth cannot be underplayed, and the Industrial Strategy talks of a need to ensure that everyone can embrace and benefit from the opportunity of technological change.
“I think it’s about much more than that. The crucial issue is how do we enable residents to both contribute to and benefit from economic growth? In other words, how do we make growth inclusive?
“Inclusive growth is about balancing the needs of all citizens, communities and places through economic opportunity. Promoting social value through inclusive growth can also reap business benefits by sustaining people in work and supporting them to be more productive, while reducing the cost of welfare.
“It’s about aligning a competitive economic agenda with a prosperous social agenda, and it’s a priority for us in 2018.
“Reaching people at the edge of the labour market is just one aspect of inclusive growth. Our challenge however is to deliver real change to many more people’s lives. Our vision for a competitive and prosperous economy is built on the triumvirate of people, place and business, and we won’t succeed without all three.”
Aerial photograph of a mighty current in Norwegian fjord. (Image: RelaxFoto.de /iStock)
Kim Conchie, chief executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce welcomed the LEP’s vision saying it’s vital that ‘we showcase our key sectors to the wider world’.
He said: “The spread of industry and work opportunities that we offer are second to none and alongside a thriving business community with innovative and progressive people wanting to do things differently, it really is the most wonderful place.”
Tim Jones, chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council added: “Government regards LEPs as essential to driving local growth and the Industrial Strategy, so publication of this prospectus is very timely. It broadcasts that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are not only open for business, but have some of the best assets for growing a 21 Century economy in the country.”
Ten opportunities for Cornwall
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have a flourishing creative economy fed by the region’s artistic heritage and strengthened by a rapidly growing UK digital sector. Superfast broadband also means Cornwall can compete across the world.
Cornwall has a high growth creative sector which has grown by 26% between 2011 and 2015.
Falmouth University is one of the UK’s leading universities for the arts and feeds Cornwall’s talent pool with skilled graduates and research in everything from games programming to graphic design.
Cornwall has received a £160m investment in superfast broadband while the tech sector is also very strong and one of the fastest growing in the UK.
Cornwall tech sector
What the LEP wants to do is develop a hub for creative industries which will provide space, support and equipment for the creative industry to grow further.
In the same way the LEP has worked to create the Aerohub Enterprise Zone at Newquay Airport to develop and nurture a space industry sector in Cornwall, the LEP wants to create a Creative Enterprise Zone that will help attract start-ups and inspire new talents and channel funding.
What the spaceport could look like in Cornwall
The upcoming spaceport could generate £180m and 500 jobs to Newquay if approved by central government.
Already Cornwall has Goonhilly Earth Station offering a range of satellite services to worldwide companies acting as a catalyst for multi-sector growth through space-derived data and digital applications. Cornwall Newquay Airport has one of the longest runaways in the UK and regional and international connections.
The Aerohub Enterprise Zone is already working as an incubating centre for space start-ups and SMEs while the SOuth West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications is a working partnership between the space industry and higher education institutions.
Cornwall’s is now primed to explore the possibilities of space-derived data to find new cross-sector applications and market opportunities. A decision on whether Cornwall hosts the UK’s first spaceport will be made by April.
Artist impression of how Jubilee Pool could look when heated by geothermal energy (Image: GES)
Cornwall’s 550% growth in renewable energy since 2010 has truly been booming.
There are plans to invest £115m by 2020 in a smart low-carbon regional energy system, featuring innovative technology such as smart systems and a virtual energy market.
The Duchy is blessed with one of the best wind resources in Europe and the best solar in the UK with around 1,500MW of onshore wind and solar assets already in place and more opportunities for wave, tidal and geothermal energy.
The Smart Islands Programme aims to make the Isles of Scilly sustainable and affordable.
Launchpad is one of Falmouth University’s success stories
Cornwall’s tech sector is one of the fastest growing in the UK and provides 1,380 high paid jobs and turnover growth of 51% between 2011-15. One average 22 new start-ups have been created every year with a sector that is currently pumping £39m into Cornwall’s economy.
Colleges, Falmouth, Plymouth and Exeter universities are all focusing on digital skills while promoting start-up support programmes.
Superfast broadband means businesses in the region enjoy internet speeds three times the speed than that in central London.
The LEP wants to secure further funding for the big-data digital capability in Cornwall and helps develop 5G technology to help businesses and the sector stay ahead of the game.
Sample the true taste of Cornwall at Callestick Farm
Cornwall is already an agri-food powerhouse with 30% of those of working age employed in the sector against 15% for the rest of the UK.
Some 80% of Cornwall’s landmass is farmed. Cornwall has the mildest and sunniest weather in the UK with above average rain fall which means food can be grown all year round.
The sector has £1.5bn turnover accounting for 6% of the economy. The LEP is keen to see the whole of Cornwall achieve Food Enterprise Zone status and encourage productivity gains and growth, new technologies as well as artisan medium and large-scale food processing businesses and clusters.
Tourism is Cornwall’s largest economic sector and will continue to grow by 3.8% year on year (Image: Nick Williams Photography)
Tourism contributes £127bn to the UK economy. with a growth projected at 3.8% each year until 2025.
Cornwall has 300 miles of coastline, wild iconic moors and 27% of its landmass designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Cornwall’s tourism sector is vibrant from World Heritage Sites to festival and internationally renowned attractions such as Eden Project or Tate St Ives.
Cornwall already attracts 4.5m overnight visitors and 14 million day trips a year. Tourism employs 58,000 people which is 10% of the Duchy’s population. These visitors contribute £2bn to the local economy.
The LEP is working with the government to make Cornwall a test bed region for a post-Brexit VAT system that allows the region to compete further with other parts of the EU where tourism VAT is lower.
It is also working with London and Manchester as gateway cities to the UK to boost inbound tourism to Cornwall.
The Hayle Marine Renewables Business Park received £6.9m from the EU to get off the ground
Cornwall not only has 300 miles of coastline but a network of world-class research institutions such as the South West Marine Cluster, FABTest at Falmouth, the Cornwall Marine Network and Marine-i in Hayle. Cornwall is home to WaveHub, the world’s most advanced energy tech.
It is also home to Fugro, a globally leading provider of geo-intelligence.
The LEP is working to continue the legacy of Marine-i including a new investment fund for marine businesses in the region.
There are plans to reopen South Crofty in Pool and restart its tin and tungsten exploitation
Cornwall enjoys a wealth of mineral resources from tin to tungsten and lithium, known as white petroleum. It is also of course known for its China Clay and remains one of the largest exporters of the stuff in the world.
There is a flurry of mining-related businesses and the Camborne School of Mines is at the forefront of training the mining experts of tomorrow.
The LEP aims to secure research investment and funding to speed up the exploration of new minerals such as lithium which could play a massive part in the wider UK economy. It is also working with the Government, Innovate UK and the Department for International Trade to develop Cornwall’s global mining offer.
The Newquay airport runway is one of the longest in the UK
Cornwall has the UK’s fastest growing airport which boats one of the longest runways in the land. the county is part of the South West Aerospace cluster, the third largest in Europe and fourth largest in the world.
An Enterprise Zone which includes the airport and Goonhilly Earth Station is encouraging new and existing businesses to set up in Cornwall.
The LEP is keen to see further expansion to the airport, secure extra funding to develop skills, and work with the sector to ensure airspace licences are future-proofed for projects such as Spaceport Cornwall and unmanned drone technology.
eHealth is the coming together of the medical sector and information technology and computing (Image: Fotolia)
Cornwall aims to be the first choice for innovators in eHealth, care and wellbeing, growing the economic base within Cornwall.
Using technology and innovation, the LEP aims to facilitate a radically different approach to the provision of health and care and mitigate the the demands and pressures of an ageing and growing population.
It is predicated that by 2020 25% of all healthcare in the world will be delivered remotely.
The LEP wants to maximise the use of artificial intelligence technology, secure investment for the sector and strengthen partnerships with local authorities and health care providers, hospitals and GP practices and NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group.
The LEP wants to create an accelerator programme that offers links with investment, funding and networking opportunities, to attract more businesses into the region and streamline the process.
The 10 opportunities prospectus comes at a crucial time for English regions as the Government sets about reshaping its economic agenda for post-Brexit Britain in line with its Industrial Strategy, published in November.
Superfast broadband investment has helped Cornwall’s tourism sector promote itself better (Image: iStock)
England’s 38 LEPs will be expected to come up with their own regional Industrial Strategies to drive business growth and job creation in their areas.
These will inform subsequent bids to the Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund which is designed to replace EU funding when it runs out in 2020.
Over the coming weeks the business community is being invited to comment on the 10 Opportunities prospectus through a series of LEP events in Falmouth, Saltash, St Ives and Truro. To find out more and to book a place, visit the LEP website .
Anyone who wants to download the 10 Opportunities document or book one of the four business events at which it will be presented can do so here: https://www.cioslep.com/strategy/10-opportunities
Source: Cornwall Live