With CCR’s Investment Prospectus “Prosperity For Our Place” prepared for presentation to the UK and Welsh Governments, we thought it timely to explore how the CCR Economic Growth Partnership (REGP) is evolving to meet the needs of a regional structure.
The SQW Report commissioned by the UK Government lauded the work done to date by the REGP, so we sought the views of Frank Holmes, Partner Gambit Corporate Finance and Chair of the REGP and Kevin Gardiner, Rothschild Wealth Management Global Investment Strategist and fellow REGP Board member, to discover what they see as the key imperatives for the next 12 months.
“We established the REGP three years ago based on ‘the three A’s’ of Advise, Appraise and Advocate. Given our prospective evolution from City Deal to a wider regionalism, all of those A’s are now focused on one key imperative – to make sure that we’re putting in place everything needed to support our journey towards regional status, with a framework that’s capable of implementing the actions and ambitions of the “Investment Prospectus” explains Frank.
“Encouraging results and highly informed views building a momentum and expectation”
“All of this is very much aligned to the latest OECD report, which is explicit in recommending a Corporate Joint Committee (CJC) as the right vehicle for regional coherence – and to build on the foundations we have already created” notes Frank. “People of the calibre of Professor Kevin Morgan agree with the view of the OECD; and of course, we’re also very much heartened by the SQW Report which highlighted the maturity and partner working of the REGP – and our evergreen approach to seeking a return on our investments and recycling these funds.
“These highly informed views and voices have built up a momentum and an expectation, so we’re naturally looking to progress the regional entity, allowing us to push forward with our business support programme, our skills strategy, our drive to attract foreign direct investment, our development of sectoral propositions, our focussed growth on sectors of strength creating clusters with global repute, maturing of our range of Investment Funds – and all the other actions that we’ve identified and detailed to bring sustainable prosperity to our region.”
“Unlocking resources and unleashing potential is a big part of what the next step is all about”
“The Investment Prospectus is a comprehensive, well-thought-through and achievable vision” stresses Kevin “but people will only begin to understand what it means when we start to quite literally break new ground – to begin to visibly deliver on our economic infrastructure projects. When people see the CCR chevron standing above truly transformational developments right across South East Wales – delivering joined-up and pioneering programmes in transport, energy, housing and employment – they’ll be able to fully appreciate the future that we’re building for every community right across the region.
“It’s clear to me that the future is anything but bleak” emphasises Kevin. “The mid to long-term offers us fantastic opportunities for growth, with some of our companies reporting record quarters in the past six months. We need to do all we can to support this – through innovations that include challenge funds, the opening up of public sector procurement opportunities at the heart of localised supply chains, and a decarbonised inclusive economy.
“I’ve been very impressed with the way we’ve grown a pipeline of important social and commercial projects” maintains Kevin “so I’m looking forward to getting more stuff done – and with that practical focus comes more opportunity to fully leverage what we can do. For example, it has been estimated that £20 million leaves our region every year in fees paid to external local authority pension managers. Just imagine what we could do with those additional funds if we managed the service. That’s the equivalent of four Zip World or eight Creo Medical investments in our region, every single year. Unlocking those resources and unleashing the potential of what can be done locally is a big part of what the next step is all about.”
“A unique moment in time for CCR and the whole of Wales”
“Our spirit of collaboration is seeing us working closely with our CCR Business Council colleagues” enthuses Frank “and the wealth of sector expertise we now have in our wider team across areas such as Cyber, AI, Medtech, Fintech and Compound Semiconductors shows that we have the leadership and succession pathways in place to grow with both continuity and confidence. That means we can reach out credibly to the global diaspora and regional structures such as those in the Basque country, for ongoing knowledge-share and development of our plans for economic inclusion and a world-leading digital infrastructure.
“We’re also very much looking forward to exploring how we can work with the other regional entities who are just beginning their own journeys – as the past four years have given us tremendous insights that we can share” says Frank. “Right now, we’re envisioning exactly what we’re going to look like, how we’re going to take on broader and deeper responsibilities and detailing the timeframe for moving to CJC status – so it’s also a perfect time to think through how we can interact with the three other regional entities in Wales. It all adds up to a unique moment in time that gives the CCR and Wales as a whole the opportunity to grab once-in-a-generation opportunities and secure a more prosperous and sustainable future. Let’s seize this day and move forward.”