West London councils to ramp up business engagement activity
Thu 27 November 2014, 5:36 pm
Barnet Council chief executive Andrew Travers has predicted a step-change in the way West London councils engage with businesses across the region.
Travers was speaking at an event last night (27 November) to mark the launch of the Vision for Growth by the West London Alliance group of boroughs.
“We know we’re facing enormous challenges over the next five years or so, and many of us are about to publish hair-raising plans of how we're going to get through that period,” he said. “But what many of us [councils in West London] have in common is that we see growth as part of the solution.
“We know the public sector has to work very closely with business if we’re going to make this happen,” he concluded.
The West London Alliance comprises the boroughs Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow. The Vision for Growth (available here: http://www.westlondonalliance.org/wla/wla.nsf/pages/WLA-124 ) includes measures to support start-up business survival and growth, improve success rates for employment programmes, deliver at least 71,000 homes, and improve town centres.
Also speaking at the event, Brent Council leader, Councillor Muhammed Butt, said: “We have shared proposals to transform outcomes for two million people and 80,000 businesses.
“West London is committed to growth, and by working together we will deliver that growth for the benefit of West London’s people and businesses."
The event was hosted by the University of West London, whose vice chancellor and chief executive Peter John described west London as an “ideopolis”: a part of the city sustained primarily by intellectual enterprises such as education, the media, advertising, and design, with a highly educated workforce.
“There are 25,000 businesses in Ealing and Hounslow, which is where we are based,” he said. “A report by the Oxford Economic Review says we support nearly 4,000 jobs and £130 million in annual revenue. It’s important to recognise the role of the university in supporting economic growth.”