Thank you to Chris Starkie from the New Anglia LEP for a productive meeting today, where we covered everything from devolution to levelling up to apprenticeships and skills.
Chris and I agree that a level 3 deal for Suffolk, with a directly elected county council leader who is accountable, would be good for the area – bringing more power and ability to invest directly in Ipswich. There are still a lot of logistics to discuss here and technicalities to work out, but I personally think that with devolution usually comes a package of funding which would be good for the Town.
Chris and I discussed the Levelling Up funding, and the progress of the Town Deal projects. I have been writing to the Minister for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to press forwards on these projects.
I told Chris about my views on the value of apprenticeships, and that we need to make it easier for Small and Medium Enterprises to offer apprenticeships and apply for the apprenticeship levy. Skills and apprenticeships are vital to the future of our local economy, and making this process easier for small businesses is something we need to work on.
Thank you to Chris for all the work the New Anglia LEP does for our local economy here.