Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 29 January 2015


George Osborne, the Chancellor, came to the National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth on Monday to set out a long term economic plan for the south west. It is the first time in 23 years that I can recall this ever being done, and it is timely. The packed audience of local business leaders gave his speech an enthusiastic welcome. The south west for this purpose is the seven counties of the region, from Gloucestershire to Stonehenge and all the way down to Land's End.

There was something for everyone, massive investment in the army in Wiltshire, huge spending on cyber warfare at GCHQ in Cheltenham, a substantial new project in Falmouth, together with more for superfast broadband and our rail and road infrastructure here in the far south west (Devon and Cornwall). For Plymouth the plan is to build upon the recently announced city deal with more investment in the exciting marine-based renewable energy sector. If we can become market leaders in this field – job done.

At last the government has recognised that our railway infrastructure has suffered from under investment for too many years and a plan is being worked up by a task force to help us become better connected. The chancellor also set out a proposal – the first time I had heard it – to create a new rail franchise just for Devon and Cornwall alone, which could give us a real local flavour. Very interesting.

It is important to have a plan. This sets direction and gives focus. It is not just our region's natural assets (sea, moor, landscape), there is a real buzz about local businesses right now – witness the fact that unemployment in this constituency is now at a record low of 0.8%. Yes, you read that right: 0.8%. In case you are wondering, 80% of the jobs created since 2010 are full time.

What I like about this new regional approach, is that it does not have a new tier of bureaucracy attached to it. We do not need another south west regional assembly or regional development agency. We do not need another level of government. Instead we need central government to work with our visionary business leaders and local authorities to help us overcome infrastructure challenges that can only be funded centrally.

I have often described Plymouth as a city that has not achieved its full potential. I truly believe that over the next 5 years that may change.

posted by Gary @ 14:23