Press release

Cable: We’ll keep working with business to help Portsmouth get ahead

Vince Cable visits Portsmouth and Gosport and pledges that the government would continue working in partnership with local businesses.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Business Secretary Vince Cable today (6 February 2014) visited Portsmouth and Gosport and pledged that the government would continue working in partnership with local businesses to deliver jobs and growth.

Seeing first hand how local firms are using government support to create jobs and capitalise on international export opportunities, the Business Secretary opened Magma Global’s new In-Country Manufacturing facility, part of a £12.75 million quayside scheme at Trafalgar Wharf.

In 2013 Magma - a producer and exporter of high-value carbon fibre pipes for the subsea oil and gas industry - benefited from over £2 million awarded through the government’s Regional Growth Fund to help construct the facility and scale up manufacture of spooled piping, helping create up to 163 full-time jobs.

The company, which has grown from employing 4 to 140 staff in 3 years, has also benefited from over £500,000 of government funding through the Technology Strategy Board to help them research and develop their innovative subsea technologies.

Dr Cable also spoke at a ceremony to mark the construction of Fareham College’s new Centre for Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST) on the Solent Enterprise Zone, and met construction apprentices helping build the facility.

Over £12 million from the Regional Growth Fund, Skills Funding Agency and Local Enterprise Partnership will enable the CEMAST project to help train more than 600 apprentices, create a Research & Development Centre to support local companies in the development of new engineering and manufacturing processes and technologies, and create or safeguard over 400 jobs in the Solent area. The centre will open in September 2014.

Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable said:

Portsmouth and the Solent have faced tough times, but have huge potential to create new jobs by building on their strengths in areas like marine, high-tech industries, tourism and the creative economy.

Intelligently targeted government investment is helping local entrepreneurial firms like Magma Global and training providers to keep ahead of the game. We will continue working in partnership with local leaders and businesses to support the local economy, connecting firms with the right individuals, networks and funding they need to reach new markets or tackle the skills gaps that hold them back.

Dr Cable also discussed local economic opportunities with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership - the body charged with bringing local civic, academic and business leaders together to exploit local growth opportunities. A key feature of the discussion was the Solent Strategic Economic Plan - a £2.4 billion plan to drive economic growth in the Solent.

Whilst in the city the Business Secretary also met with representatives of BAE Systems at the Naval Base to discuss the company’s attempts to mitigate the impact of the job losses announced in November 2013.

The government is determined to help local leaders unlock the opportunities for growth and jobs that currently exist in Portsmouth. Business Minister Michael Fallon has been given specific responsibility for co-ordinating the government’s ongoing efforts to support the future of the maritime industry in the area and the livelihoods of the people who work there. He visited the city last week and met with city leaders including council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Portsmouth University Vice-chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith. A number of other senior ministers have visited the city recently to support these efforts.

Notes to Editors

1.Recent government support for Portsmouth area includes:

  • a City Deal agreed with the government for Portsmouth and Southampton last year (2013) is set to bring over 4,700 permanent new jobs in Portsmouth, particularly in the marine, maritime and advanced manufacturing sectors
  • a central part of that deal is that the Ministry of Defence will transfer its sites on Tipner/Horsea Island to Portsmouth City Council for a nominal fee. This will unlock £831 million of private and public sector investment
  • a new junction on the M275 will open up land in the north of the city (Tipner/Horsea Island) for homes and new business premises to be built. The City Deal will enable many more sites to be made available in this area

2.About the RGF

The Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England to grow. So far £2.6 billion of funding has been allocated to support projects and programmes committed to deliver sustainable jobs and economic growth. Round 5 selected bidders will be announced in Spring 2014.

4.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 6 February 2014