Norfolk is home to some of the most innovative and inventive people and institutions not just in the UK but internationally too. Yet the recognition we get seems grudging and the investment that follows neither reflects the opportunities we have or the character of the county.
We have an abundant county with natural environment, amazing coastline, a world class city and a long history of rural communities thriving. Add to those the businesses based on hospitality, the night time economy, arts, finance, creative industries, science, farming and wind to show we have a framework for job creation and business growth that doesn’t require the kind of concrete and steel infrastructure investment that might be suitable elsewhere but jars in Norfolk.
Care workers make up a large proportion of those employed in Norfolk yet hardly get a mention in the economic strategy. Too much of benefits from our offshore industry goes out of the county. The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) needs to take a broader perspective and reflect the real jobs and real lives of Norfolk people. Trade union representation on the board would be a good first step.
We don’t get recognised for what we have, we don’t get the help we need and we don’t get the reward for what Norfolk contributes to the national economy.
Norfolk is more than a tourist destination but we continue to welcome and want to build every aspect of the tourist economy. The loss of the past year shows we cannot take it for granted. Eco-tourism presents major opportunities for Norfolk to embrace.
Broadband has improved considerably but Covid has shown how much we rely on it. The woeful gaps there are in coverage, capacity, speed and reliability are damaging. Time to stop talking up the progress and get on with finishing the job of ensuring Norfolk has the broadband access we urgently need.
Norfolk County Council has huge purchasing power. A Labour administration will prioritise local manufacturers service providers and suppliers to keep Norfolk’s money in Norfolk.