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New Surrey business group launched
4:32pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
A new group has been launched to boost business in Surrey as new figures reveal the county’s economy grew by 7% in two years – despite the downturn. The group, Surrey Future, has been set up to unite business leaders, Surrey County Council and boroughs and districts with the shared aim of helping local firms thrive and encouraging new start-ups.
Its launch last week came as new figures showed that Surrey’s economy grew by 7% between 2009 and 2011 despite the bleak national outlook.
The county's growth total generated more than £30 billion annually for the UK economy.
That was more than cities like Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds, and meant the county contributed more income taxation to the Exchequer than everywhere else except the City of London.
Surrey Future now aims to establish a list of key investment priorities over the next 20-plus years. The initial focus will be on tackling overcrowding on trains and cutting congestion on some of Britain’s busiest roads, as well as drawing up a ‘to do’ list of transport schemes in preparation for funding bids.
The group’s launch is one of a number of ways the county council is planning to boost business, which were set out in a county council cabinet report.
The other measures include unlocking land to unleash development, working with business to support innovation, and talking to the Government about ways to support investment in Surrey.
Surrey County Council’s leader David Hodge, said: “We’re committed to taking an active role in supporting the county’s economy, helping it to grow and generate more jobs. “Surrey Future will help us do that both now and over the coming decades.”
Coun Hodge said: “Surrey is an engine room for the national economy and a centre for innovation. “Sustained investment is vital if we are to accelerate the recovery and lead the rest of the UK into prosperity.”
He added: “Investing in the county’s overburdened roads and rail network will be key to this because good travel links help businesses run more efficiently, while making the best possible use of land will play a big part in accelerating development.”
David Hill, chief executive of Guildford Borough Council and chairman of the Surrey Future Steering Group, said: “We are working together across Surrey for the future of our community and local economy, to generate growth and opportunities.
“We know that supporting economic prosperity is vital for local quality of life and the real difference Surrey’s economy makes to the whole country.”
He said: “Surrey Future’s programme is about unlocking more of Surrey’s potential and improving local infrastructure.”