The Chief Executive of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) says that recent reports – suggesting the county has a world-leading economy – ‘reaffirms’ Oxfordshire’s ability to create a climate for dynamic economic growth.
Nigel Tipple believes that research from several high-profile organisations – including PwC and Irwin Mitchell – validates the view of the county’s business leaders who say Oxfordshire’s economy is demonstrating ‘dynamic growth’.
Mr Tipple’s assessment follows a recent OxLEP survey of hundreds of business leaders across the county, showing a majority are optimistic about their prospects for growth.
It also comes as OxLEP gets set to host an inaugural Q&A event for Oxfordshire business leaders later this month.
The event; ‘How can we attract, develop and retain world-class, talented people?’ is being hosted in partnership with leading baking company British Bakels and will be held at their Bicester headquarters on 22 January.
OxLEP’s survey of nearly 300 business leaders found that 79 per cent said their business had good growth prospects.
More than two-thirds of respondents (68 per cent) – whose businesses range in size from less than £2m in turnover to more than £50m – also said they planned to hire staff in the next 12 months.
There was also much enthusiasm for Oxfordshire, with 77 per cent of leaders agreeing that the county had ‘a vibrant, sustainable, inclusive and world-leading economy driven by innovation, enterprise and research excellence’, supporting OxLEP’s vision for the county.
Just eight per cent of those who responded to the survey did not agree with the statement.
OxLEP’s findings also coincide with further good news for the county – and for Oxford too – with multiple organisations highlighting strong growth, as well as government announcements citing Oxfordshire as a major economic force.
In October, PwC’s ‘Good Growth for Cities’ report cited Oxford as being one of the two highest-performing cities – in relation to growth – anywhere in the UK. This followed a study by Irwin Mitchell that revealed Oxford had the second fastest-growing economy of any UK city.
In addition, Chancellor Philip Hammond committed £215million-worth of investment – over the next five years – at November’s Budget, with the aim of boosting infrastructure and productivity in Oxfordshire.
The Government is also set to review recommendations made by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), following its report detailing opportunities across the ‘Oxford-Cambridge Corridor’.
Mr Tipple believes such developments further demonstrates Oxfordshire as a key driver behind ‘UK PLC’, as well as offering an attractive proposition for new businesses – both nationally and internationally.
Mr Tipple said: “It is hugely encouraging to see such a high-level of optimism among our business leaders, with many of them expecting to expand their operations and hire new staff over the next year.
“Our survey is given further credence through the findings of internationally-renowned organisations whose research back the views of many Oxfordshire businesses, all identifying a positive trend in factors playing a key role in driving forward a dynamic economy.
“The need to ensure Oxfordshire benefits from an infrastructure that is fit for purpose and one that doesn’t hold back economic growth – whilst being sensitive to the environment – should continue to be a key priority.”
The Q&A event – which is free to Oxfordshire business leaders – aims to highlight and offer guidance on some of the key challenges faced by the county’s businesses around recruitment and retention.
Guest speakers at the event include; Nigel Tipple, Paul Morrow – Managing Director of British Bakels, Pat Cole – Site Director of Abbott Ltd and Simon Newton – Commercial Director of Darke and Taylor.
The event will be chaired by Adrian Lockwood – Chair of the Oxfordshire Skills Board.
Mr Tipple added: “We hope the Q&A event will be of great benefit to our business leaders and that we can demonstrate how having a strong economy can have a positive knock-on effect to the county’s employment market.”
To sign-up to the Q&A event, OxLEP, go to: www.oxfordshirelep.com/qanda.