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Minister launches five-year plan to boost economy

Barbara Follett, regional government minister for the East of England, unveiled the latest version of the Joint Economic Development Strategy 2008 for Bedfordshire and Luton at Luton Hoo Hotel.

The strategy has been developed by The Bedfordshire and Luton Economic Development Partnership, a partnership of private and public businesses and organisations. It sets out the key actions that are needed over the next five years to ensure and deliver economic growth in Bedfordshire and Luton.

Mrs Follett said: “I’m delighted to launch this new strategy, which I hope will help to unlock the great economic potential of Bedfordshire and Luton. It is important that local partners now work together to ensure that the actions of this strategy are effectively delivered.”

BLEDP chair Derek Ludlow (pictured) said: “Bedfordshire and Luton has one of the best economic locations in the UK, yet its local economy has punched below its weight for decades.

“We need the help of regional and national bodies to enable this area to fulfil its true economic potential. The JEDS sets out a clear vision for the future of the area and a set of activities that will enable that vision to be fulfilled.”

JEDS 2008 has a vision of:
Quality economic growth.
Delivering at least 50,000 high skills, high value additional jobs from 2001 to 2021.
Reduced carbon emissions and increased environmental efficiency.
Higher employment.

BLEDP chief executive Chris Barnes said: “The scale of the task remains significant and challenging. We are on target for new jobs in the longer term target period 2001 to 2021 but the current slowdown may have an effect.

"Job growth targets are equivalent to two Center Parcs opening each year and for us to sustain this level of progress it is essential that local partners continue to work together effectively.”

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