Ministers from two Government departments have visited Great Yarmouth to learn more about the local impact of, and opportunities presented by, the UK’s planned exit from the European Union.
Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Steve Baker MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Exiting the European Union joined a round table discussion at the Great Yarmouth campus of East Coast College. The discussion was chaired by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and attended by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Norfolk County Council and representatives from education and business sectors including construction, energy, ports and logistics, food and agriculture, tourism and the voluntary sector.
The meeting was called to help inform the ministers’ understanding of the implications of EU exit for the local economy, services and workforce. Topics discussed included the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, future frameworks for regulation and migration and the government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper, launched earlier this week.
Earlier, Mr Baker visited local business Pasta Foods, while Mr Javid was given a tour of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Beacon Park site – part of the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft (New Anglia) Enterprise Zone. He was shown around the under-construction Artemis House, which will become the headquarters for energy firm Proserv, bringing the company’s 190 staff under one roof from their current three sites in the town. Artemis House has been jointly funded by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and New Anglia LEP’s Growing Places Fund with Morgan Sindall as the main contractor. At 65,000 sq ft it will become the largest commercial property in Great Yarmouth.
Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: “Today’s visit is an important part of my ongoing discussions with local authorities and their partners as the UK prepares to leave the EU. I was delighted to see first-hand the excellent work local authorities, LEP and businesses are doing to promote growth and skills in Great Yarmouth and the East of England.
“It was great to see the enthusiasm from local leaders who want to make our exit from the EU a success for the communities they serve. I want to understand the challenges and opportunities they may face in the coming months and years and I am committed to doing everything possible to support them.”
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive Officer at New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Both ministers taking the time to visit Great Yarmouth shows the importance Government places in involving local communities as it looks to create the best possible environment for economic growth post Brexit.
“We’re already working with public and private sector partners to explore the opportunities the Shared Prosperity Fund and a Local Industrial Strategy could bring to the East, and from there to make our case to Government for the skills and infrastructure funding that can create transformational change for our region.”
Cllr Graham Plant, Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “It was a great opportunity to welcome Mr Javid to the growing energy sector hub that is Beacon Park, to introduce him to businesses there and to showcase the Proserv headquarters the council is building on the Enterprise Zone with the aim of supporting jobs, investment and growth.
“In addition, it was interesting to participate in the roundtable discussion with local representatives from different sectors, and to hear the different perspectives. We hope the Government will find this useful and informative as Brexit discussions continue at national and international levels.”