Essex: £2m boost to county’s economy - with cash for A120 upgrade

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- Credit: Andrew Partridge

A PLAN for improving the Essex economy over the coming years has been agreed by the county council.

The council’s cabinet met yesterday to sign off the implementation plan for the Essex Economic Growth Strategy, which prioritises education and skills, road improvements and support for businesses.

The agreement will result in an extra £2million of funding being ring-fenced to target these key areas over the next financial year. This figure includes £500,000 to develop more apprenticeship schemes across the county and £400,000 to attract investment and improve business innovation.

Two much-anticipated road schemes in north Essex – improvements to the A120 near Harwich and an extension to the A133 in north Colchester – were both pledged £40,000.

Cabinet member for economic growth Kevin Bentley said: “It’s a huge vote of confidence in Essex business that the strategy has been boosted with the additional £2m for the coming financial year.

“In the current economic climate, it is essential that we help and support our businesses and partners while supporting those in education and ensuring they have as many options as possible to help them into the workplace afterwards.”

The measures were broadly welcomed by David Burch, director of policy at the Essex Chambers of Commerce, who singled out work on the A133 as an important project for the area.

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But leader of the opposition, Lib Dem councillor Mike Mackrory, said the success of the strategy was dependent on the outcome of a number of other council-led initiatives.

He said: “The council is also promoting lifelong learning to raise educational attainment within Essex. This will influence inward investment in Essex because investment will only come if we have an educated and skilled workforce to offer.”