Response to Green Paper on the New Industrial Strategy
Despite significant locational advantages, barriers do exist that stop Thames Valley businesses reaching their full economic potential, the main three being:
• Access to talent: our employers attribute a higher proportion of hard-to-fill vacancies to both a lack of quality applicants (skills shortages) than is average across England. Skills shortages are most concentrated (i.e. in terms of the proportion of vacancies that are proving difficult to fill due to a lack of candidates with the required skills) in high skill roles (31%). Berkshire-based Foreign Owned Companies report higher levels of skills shortages than companies that are UK-owned and operated4 (10% report having at least one vacancy that is proving difficult to fill due to skills shortages versus 7% of multi-site UK-owned companies)5. Thames Valley Berkshire has the 4th highest proportion of its workforce with skills gaps6 (6%) out of all LEP areas.
• A lack of affordable housing – to rent and to buy: again, exacerbating the challenge of attracting new talent – the supply of new homes that people can afford to live in is crucial to maintaining the success of the local economy.
• Increasing congestion on our roads – the transport and communications infrastructure on which we rely is simultaneously a local, national and international resource. It is very congested. This in turn is threatening to undermine our intrinsic growth potential.
Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has therefore identified four key priorities for a national Industrial Strategy, which will ensure that our area continues to deliver national growth, locally:
• Scaling up for growth
• Growing STEM skills
• Transforming infrastructure
• Retaining our international companies
The full submission can be seen here.