Minister for Portsmouth meets Hampshire County Council's Leader and Deputy Leader
Monday, 24 March 2014
The Minister for Portsmouth, Michael Fallon MP, met with Hampshire County Council's Leader and Deputy Leader Cllr Roy Perry and Councillor Keith Mans on Friday 21 March, prior to attending a meeting with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
Hampshire County Council is a co-signatory of the Southampton and Portsmouth City Deal and Cllr Perry used the private meeting to assure the minister that the County Council is fully behind Government plans to boost the economy of south Hampshire including the two cities. Cllr Mans is a member of the Solent LEP Board working closely on plans for enhancing the prosperity of the Portsmouth to Southampton corridor.
Roy Perry explained to the Minster, as a former MEP for Wight and Hampshire South with Portsmouth at its heart, he knew the city well and was keen for the County Council to be seen as part of the solution for Portsmouth
Hampshire has been a significant contributor to the city's wellbeing, having contributed over £1million to the Mary Rose Museum. Only last year Hampshire County Council contributed a further £250,000 to the 1st World War M33 warship in the city's historic dockyard. This was a key factor towards attracting the major £1.7million grant the Heritage Lottery Fund has earmarked for restoring one of only two remaining British warships from the 1st World War.
County expertise has also been important in infrastructure developments such as at Tipner. The County Council has contributed £3million towards the CEMAST centre of excellence for advanced skills training at the Daedalus Enterprise site which will help in upskilling the workforce in Portsmouth and south Hampshire.
The interdependence of Portsmouth's economy and that of Hampshire is demonstrated by the fact that almost 44 per cent of the staff affected by last year's decision by BAE systems on the closure of shipbuilding in Portsmouth live in Hampshire and almost 20 per cent live in Southampton.
Roy Perry said: "It was good to meet the minister and to be able to assure him we wanted to be part of the solution for Portsmouth. Prosperous cities are a key to a prosperous county. We have already demonstrated how at Daedalus Enterprise site, Hampshire has contributed to the new skills centre and we are keen to help with the Construction and Built Environment Centre at Havant College. Both those projects maybe outside the city but will nonetheless be of great assistance in helping the city. There is a skills shortage in this area and the more we can do to fill that gap locally the less need there is to import skilled labour from other parts of the country."
The Minister urged the county leaders to keep in contact with him at the Department of Business and Industry.