PLANS to secure £45 billion in economic benefits for the South West and to create 190,000 new jobs over the next 15 years will be announced today.

The Great South West partners, an alliance of businesses, education leaders and local authorities, has pledged to work with central government to make the region the latest ‘growth alliance’.

Its ambition is to sit alongside the government-backed Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine and Western Gateway economic areas.

The Great South West spans the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas of Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, the Heart of the South West – which includes Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset – and Dorset.

Dorset LEP chairman Jim Stewart said: “The Great South West is poised for a step change in productivity and prosperity, and supported by the government, we can capitalise on opportunities presented by the Industrial Strategy, building momentum for a region that is of national and international significance.”

The Great South West partners were set to publish a local growth prospectus today.

Mr Stewart said: “This prospectus clearly sets out our ambitions to become the leading region for the green and blue economy.”

The document sets out how, with government backing, the region can become a ‘test bed’ for new thinking and new technologies designed to accelerate the move to a greener, more prosperous economy.

Specifically, it calls for:

  • Formal recognition of the Great South West as a growth alliance aimed at rebalancing the UK economy, with an identified minister to link into government.
  • £2 million over three years to build a business case.
  • A Great South West Tourism Zone to help the industry become more productive.
  • An agreement to create a Rural Productivity Deal, addressing the specific needs of the rural economy.

Steve Hindley, chairman of the Great South West partnership, said: “Our aspiration is for the government to recognise the enormous potential of the Great South West to model how the future economy will look, and to work with us to plan and deliver the changes that we need to launch an era of transformational change and become the greenest economy of the UK.”