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Business Secretary talks of “big opportunity” for Greater Grimsby in Industrial Strategy debate

BUSINESS Secretary Greg Clark has highlighted the “big opportunity” North East Lincolnshire has to play in Britain’s industrial revival.

Business Secretary talks of “big opportunity” for Greater Grimsby in Industrial Strategy debate

The man behind Monday’s release of the Industrial Strategy sang the praises of the area, as well as the team that brought together the successful Greater Grimsby Town Deal bid, in a debate following its publication.

Mr Clark’s inclusion of the proposition as a pilot signals a likely multi-million pound deal to kick-start transformational regeneration in the borough.

He said: “There is a big opportunity for Grimsby, Cleethorpes and the surrounding area to participate in the revival that this Industrial Strategy offers.

“The board, which involves the private sector and people with a big commitment to Grimsby and the area, is featured for the particular reason that its leadership is already achieving results, and we are very keen to push that forward.”

He was responding to a question from Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers, who together with his Grimsby counterpart Melanie Onn, former chancellor Norman Lamont, highly respected civil servant Lord Kerslake and representatives from the likes of ABP, Ørsted and Engie – as well as North East Lincolnshire Council – make up the board, led by David Ross.

Mr Vickers said: “I particularly welcome the commitment in the document to local industrial strategies, especially the reference to the Greater Grimsby project board, of which I am a member. It is a private sector-led board.

“Does my right hon. Friend agree that that is the best way forward for developing strategy, and will he commit to meeting the board in the not-too-distant future?”

With the ear of Government, Mr Vickers has worked with Ms Onn in a bid to push open doors for the proposal, uniting civic leaders in the town with key officials. 

Speaker John Bercow MP also interjected, stating he was not aware of Mr Vickers’ “membership of that important board,” undoubtedly aware of the profile of some on it.

Mr Clark was though, underlining the work in Westminster to further the efforts of those in Grimsby’s Municipal Offices.

The Business Secretary didn’t confirm a visit, but he is no stranger to the town, having played a key role in establishing Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, and been hosted by Mr Vickers during the 2015 General Election campaign.

As reported this summer, the proposition is for an initial five-year investment plan securing up to £36.9 million of Westminster funding, to bring forward delivery of the key projects, with longer term aims of a potential further 5,400 jobs and 7,700 new homes. It would be the springboard for a £216 million leap in economic output, “a step change to the economic contribution to UK Plc,” according to the submission.

Further details of how it will be administered, and exactly what the pilot includes, are anticipated in the coming months.

The Greater Grimsby Project Board:

David Ross, chair, entrepreneur / benefactor
Cllr Ray Oxby, leader, North East Lincolnshire Council
Rob Walsh, chief executive, NELC
Cllr Peter Wheatley, portfolio holder for regeneration, assets, skills and housing, NELC
Martin Vickers, MP for Cleethorpes
Melanie Onn, MP for Great Grimsby
Lord Lamont, life peer and former Chancellor of the Exchequer
Lord Kerslake, life peer and former head of the civil service, having specialised in communities.
Lord Haskins, life peer and chair of Humber LEP
Kishor Tailor, chief executive, Humber LEP
Ursula Lidbetter MBE, chief executive, Greater Lincolnshire LEP
Ruth Carver, secretariat, Greater Lincolnshire LEP
Gordon Sheret, managing director of Cities and Communities Division, Engie
Simon Bird, Humber ports director, ABP
Matthew Wright, managing director, Ørsted UK
Peter Campey, assistant director of Cities and Local Growth Unit, Central Government
Louise Brennan, planning director, Historic England
Neale Coleman, David Ross Foundation
Clare Foges, David Ross Foundation

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