East Anglia: New Anglia LEP leaders Andy Wood and Peter Barry lobby Business Secretary Vince Cable for regional investment

THE leaders of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership have stepped up their lobbying for investment in Suffolk and Norfolk ahead of next week’s Budget.

Peter Barry and Andy Wood had a private meeting with Business Secretary Vince Cable to outline the LEP’s vision for private sector jobs growth across the two counties.

In particular they called on Dr Cable to support the bid from Group Lotus to the Regional Growth Fund, which ministers are expected to consider in the next few days.

Mr Wood, chief executive of Adnams, said: “We are using every opportunity to speak with the Government about our priorities and the need for support.

“We are not looking for large handouts, but targeted support which we know will deliver private sector jobs now.”

The bid for a loan from the Regional Growth Fund would allow Lotus to expand and maintain production at its Hethel site in Norfolk, creating 1,200 new and sustainable high value jobs and safeguarding the existing 1,200 jobs.

The meeting with Dr Cable took place during an LEP national summit, which was chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron.

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Mr Barry and Mr Wood, who are joint chairmen of the New Anglia LEP Development Group, also used the meeting to highlight the importance of the energy and tourism sectors to the area’s economy, and called for Government support to help the LEP in its ambition of creating private sector jobs.

Mr Barry said: “The meeting with Vince Cable was very important.

“We need to get across to him the significance of Lotus to the local economy and the vital role the Regional Growth Fund bid will play creating new jobs as well as retaining existing jobs.”