Worcestershire has 'punched below its weight' for too long, says deputy leader

Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy county council leader

Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy county council leader

First published in News
Last updated
Evesham Journal: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

A LEADING Worcestershire politician has hailed a "step change" in ambition - after admitting the county has "punched below its weight" for too long.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, the county council's deputy leader, says not enough has been done to take advantage of the assets Worcestershire has, such as its unique heritage and world class manufacturing base.

He has also revealed how County Hall's leadership is firmly backing a blueprint to create 25,000 new jobs in a decade - revealing that figure is 10,000 above what would happen if nothing new was done to create jobs.

As your Worcester News revealed in January, the Government is making £5 billion available between now and 2020 to counties with detailed economic plans.

Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the lobbying body for business, is being tasked with bidding for some of that cash by producing a blueprint for how it wants the county to grow.

Cllr Geraghty, speaking during a cabinet meeting, said Worcestershire has to recognise it is now "competing" with other areas for cash.

"Some time ago Lord Heseltine produced his report recommending quite radical changes to the way local government is funded," he said.

"That said it would be a competitive process, there isn't going to be jam for everybody and if we want it, we've got to go after it.

"We really want to make a step change and take it up a gear in terms of where we're going in Worcestershire.

"We recognise, perhaps we've punched below our weight or put it this way, there is the potential to do so much more.

"We've got to up our game and we're doing that. Doing what we are doing now, we can expect 15,000 new jobs in Worcestershire over that time but the fact we're aiming for 25,000 shows we're seeking that step change."

Cllr Geraghty went to London earlier this month to try and influence Government figures over the money.

The final LEP blueprint is due to be submitted at the end of March and money will then be distributed nationwide, via all LEPs, in the summer.

Councillor John Campion, cabinet member for transformation and commissioning, said: "This is a signal that the sleeping giant in Worcestershire is awakening.

"These are significant figures and it's not just about more jobs, but bringing better quality jobs to the county.

"No longer are we content with being Middle England, we want to put Worcestershire on the map."

During the debate councillors said the LEP has found Worcestershire has the third biggest advanced manufacturing base in entire the UK.

Councillors said another little-known fact is that Birmingham is now the third most popular short-break destination in England, and insisted Worcestershire should be tapping into that popularity.

The LEP has pledged to focus on four key areas of manufacturing, cyber security, agriculture and tourism.

Comments (7)

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10:25pm Fri 28 Mar 14

CJH says...

Punched below its weight? Below the belt more like...
Punched below its weight? Below the belt more like... CJH
  • Score: 0

10:43pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Landy44 says...

Worcestershire has punch below its weight, but frankly we don't need half baked politicians who have no clue about the real world "helping". Best they just get out of the way, stop meddling, and let those who can do...do!
Worcestershire has punch below its weight, but frankly we don't need half baked politicians who have no clue about the real world "helping". Best they just get out of the way, stop meddling, and let those who can do...do! Landy44
  • Score: 2

12:35am Sat 29 Mar 14

themooman says...

How can he say this when images nightclub is still in existence. Plus we have a fantastic bargain shopping area in st Martin gate. Jeez
How can he say this when images nightclub is still in existence. Plus we have a fantastic bargain shopping area in st Martin gate. Jeez themooman
  • Score: 0

6:54am Sat 29 Mar 14

johnrath says...

Why does Worcestershire need to punch something?
Why does Worcestershire need to punch something? johnrath
  • Score: 1

9:32am Sat 29 Mar 14

Jabbadad says...

It has for some time been recognised that Worcestershire has been several steps behing the families of shire counties. This can only be attributed to our Councilors and Simon having been a figure head for many years should hang his head, not smile at the camera, since it shows us that apart from being very active in attacking our own and visiting Disabled & Older peoples services and qaulity of life, the CON-servatives are responsible for being unaproachable, unresponsive and frequently undemocratic.
The Headlines on todays Worcester News and reports that the county council is perplexed that the public are dissatisfied with their roads porgrammes says it all. We are supposed to have two men on motorcycles riding along our roads to report on their conditon of repair. We are encouraged to phone / go on line to report Pot Holes, both of which I have attempted, there have been many reports and pictures in this newspaper about the conditions of our roads, and stories from drivers and pedestrians about damage to vehicles and falls by pedestrians, plus pictures of potholes. So if they are perplexed they must be living somewhere else. As I have said I have reported several potholes without any response. And If they come to spray the pothole with their orange paint identifying this spot for repair, you can see just a couple of feet away and often closer, more work that needs doing, and which we know will not get done when the workmen eventually fix only the section highlighted in orange. WE SURELY ARE LED BY FOOLS.
SIMON & PETER BLAKE NEED TO GET OUT MORE, or just ackowledge the reports in this newspaperand act on the evidence in a business like manner.
It has for some time been recognised that Worcestershire has been several steps behing the families of shire counties. This can only be attributed to our Councilors and Simon having been a figure head for many years should hang his head, not smile at the camera, since it shows us that apart from being very active in attacking our own and visiting Disabled & Older peoples services and qaulity of life, the CON-servatives are responsible for being unaproachable, unresponsive and frequently undemocratic. The Headlines on todays Worcester News and reports that the county council is perplexed that the public are dissatisfied with their roads porgrammes says it all. We are supposed to have two men on motorcycles riding along our roads to report on their conditon of repair. We are encouraged to phone / go on line to report Pot Holes, both of which I have attempted, there have been many reports and pictures in this newspaper about the conditions of our roads, and stories from drivers and pedestrians about damage to vehicles and falls by pedestrians, plus pictures of potholes. So if they are perplexed they must be living somewhere else. As I have said I have reported several potholes without any response. And If they come to spray the pothole with their orange paint identifying this spot for repair, you can see just a couple of feet away and often closer, more work that needs doing, and which we know will not get done when the workmen eventually fix only the section highlighted in orange. WE SURELY ARE LED BY FOOLS. SIMON & PETER BLAKE NEED TO GET OUT MORE, or just ackowledge the reports in this newspaperand act on the evidence in a business like manner. Jabbadad
  • Score: -1

10:51pm Sat 29 Mar 14

DOEPUBLIC says...

Sad to hear a politician use such emotive language, in the context of good business. Worcestershire, is and remains, a fruitful and creative community.
Sad to hear a politician use such emotive language, in the context of good business. Worcestershire, is and remains, a fruitful and creative community. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: -1

11:17pm Sat 29 Mar 14

DOEPUBLIC says...

http://robinhoodtax.
org.uk/bringrobinhom
e
http://robinhoodtax. org.uk/bringrobinhom e DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: -4

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