For information: To receive a presentation setting out an update on the emerging Strategic Economic Plan for Oxfordshire, which includes the undertaking of an independent economic review.
The Partnership received a briefing presentation from Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of OxLEP on the development of a new Oxfordshire Strategic Plan building upon the 2016 Plan, 2017 Local Industrial Strategy and 2020 Economic Recovery Plan.
It was noted that:
· It had been collectively agreed by OxLEP and its partners on a system wide basis to refresh the economic plan in light of the seismic changes that had occurred within the national and Oxfordshire economy over recent years and secondly because of the resetting by local authorities of their economic trajectories through their Local Plan processes in terms of housing, employment, and growth need. The alignment of the Plan’s development alongside those Local Plans process meant that a creation of a duplicate layer of economic projections could be avoided.
· The development process of the Plan would recognise the criticality of good growth, Net Zero, equality, diversity and inclusion in a way that had not been possible to do before and although a full public consultation exercise was not being undertaken, the Plan development process would seek to involve more and different voices. A programme of engagement workshops had been devised and open call for evidence issued.
· It was intended to seek to define a clear picture of Oxfordshire’s foundational economy.
· It was expected that the final draft of the new Plan would be considered by OxLEP in September 2023.
Professor Irene Tracey, on behalf of Oxfordshire’s universities commented on the importance of university involvement in the discussions on the development and furthering of economic opportunity for the county’s population. It was important to connect this to work the universities were doing to think more strategically about opportunities arising from some of their innovation and science parks to ensure synergy and that those parks were benefiting local people as well as the meeting discovery research and translation goals. Professor Tracey informed the Partnership that she would be taking part in HM Government work on the role of UK universities in assisting innovation and business spinouts arising from research. She looked forward to working with other stakeholders within the Future Oxfordshire Partnership.
Councillor Susan Brown stated that ‘spin out’ business arising from innovation and research was an important part of the Oxfordshire economy. It was important as part of any engagement that any such business were strongly represented because it was necessary to understand the experiences and needs of such businesses. It was important for Oxfordshire to be a leader in sustainable industry and as part of the Oxford to Cambridge Partnership and to think about the skills required in order to delver the type of sustainable industry required. The technical skills needed to support electric vehicles was one example of this.
Councillor Brown commented that there were many strands to be considered as part of the drafting of the SEP and as many voices as possible should be heard, particularly from the research and innovation spaces. All the various inputs then had to balanced out as part of planning for the future, because if that was not done it would lead to what she felt was the current situation where there was an inadequate amount of housing across the county and problems with transport infrastructure.
In conclusion, Nigel Tipple responded to the comments made by commenting that both universities were already playing an active part in the SEP’s drafting and groups representing a wide range of business interests and networks including research and innovation were being reached out to with the assistance of the economic development teams in each council.
RESOLVED: That the presentation be noted.