We want 25,000 new jobs to be created in Worcestershire

Bromsgrove Advertiser: County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

A JOBS bonanza is being drawn up for Worcestershire - in the hope 25,000 new positions can be created by 2025.

A new report on the county's economic prospects suggests Worcestershire needs to focus on its key strengths to have a better future.

The four "key sectors" of manufacturing, cyber security, agriculture and tourism have been named as the areas where Worcestershire has best chance of stimulating more growth.

The county council is now developing an action plan to boost the economic outlook, in the hope millions of extra funding could be obtained to unlock Worcestershire's potential.

The Government is making £5 billion of new funds available between now and 2020 to counties with detailed economic plans.

To that end, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the main lobbying body for businesses, is producing a blueprint for how it wants the county to grow.

The plan, which has to be handed to the Government by Monday, March 31 has been months in the making and will be used to bid for a slice of that cash.

A report on the progress made is being discussed by the county council's Conservative cabinet tomorrow.

It says there is a recognition that Worcestershire has "punched below its weight in economic terms" but the LEP is "determined to change that".

It also says when it comes to the county's traditional strengths, they form a key focus for the blueprint, especially tourism, which creates nine per cent of the current tally of Worcestershire jobs, higher than the national average.

The report also cites the farming community as "the backbone" to the rural economy, insisting that must be a strong focus.

It also points to the county's growing reputation for cyber security firms, mainly based at Malvern Hills Science Park, as something to seize upon.

Both the LEP and county council say Worcestershire could become a national centre of excellence for cyber security with the right backing.

Work is now well underway to identify individual programmes ahead of the final plan being handed in.

The ultimate aim is to create 25,000 new jobs by 2025 by injecting £2.9 billion of additional economic activity into Worcestershire.

The cabinet meeting to discuss it gets underway from 10am on Thursday at County Hall.

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