Key figures from across Oxfordshire joined a high-profile member of the House of Lords earlier on Friday (1 February) for a business roundtable discussion.
Lord Henley, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, met with around a dozen business leaders at the event – held at Milton Park Innovation Centre, near Didcot – including Oxfordshire’s business and science park communities, some of the county’s education providers, the Oxfordshire Skills Board and the University of Oxford.
In addition, several businesses working within the county’s four transformative technology sectors, namely; connected and autonomous vehicles, digital health, space-led data and quantum computing – as identified in the 2017 Oxfordshire Transformative Technology Alliance's science and innovation audit – also attended the roundtable.
If fully-utilised, it’s believed the four technologies could be worth in the region of £180billion by 2030 to the UK economy, around six per cent of the global economy in these technologies
During his visit, Lord Henley discussed with businesses some of the ways in which organisations have responded to Government’s UK Industrial Strategy, which was launched in autumn 2017.
Through the strategy, the Government aims to increase growth and productivity across the UK, as well as creating more prosperous communities.
The roundtable was hosted by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) who – working with key stakeholders – are currently developing a response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy through the Oxfordshire Local Industrial Strategy.
The Local Industrial Strategy aims to place the county at the ‘forefront’ of a future globally-facing UK economy, positioning it as one of the top-three global innovation ‘ecosystems’, highlighting the county’s world-leading science and technology capabilities.
All Local Enterprise Partnerships in England have been tasked with responding to the Government’s Industrial Strategy through the production of Local Industrial Strategies for their respective areas.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “We were delighted to welcome Lord Henley to Oxfordshire and showcase to him some of the significant economic strengths and capabilities that we have within the county.
“We are recognised globally as a place that can support innovation-led growth, greater productivity and major ‘place potential’ as we move towards an ever-increasing internationally-focussed economy – and with a GVA of £23billion per annum – we are one of only three net county contributors to the Exchequer.
“We also have a track record of nurturing genuine innovation and taking it to a world-stage, whilst – between 2012 and 2017 – we have seen a total of 50,000 new jobs created in the county. With this in mind, our key message continues to be that Oxfordshire is very much open for business.”
James Dipple – Chief Executive of MEPC Limited, managers and developers of Milton Park – added: “We were delighted to host the roundtable event with Lord Henley at Milton Park.
“It was great to be able to discuss the significant contribution that the Milton Park community of 250 businesses based here has already made to the Oxfordshire economic engine.
“With the emerging 2040 Masterplan Vision for the Park identifying a potential for 20,000 jobs, we look forward to continuing to play an integral part in the future Industrial Strategy of the region.”
(Pictured above at Milton Park Innovation Centre: James Dipple - MEPC, Richard Byard - OxLEP, Lord Henley, Adrian Lockwood - Oxfordshire Skills Board)