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16 January 2020

Reducing Dorset’s productivity gap

Reducing Dorset’s productivity gap

Dorset has established industry expertise in a range of sectors including advanced engineering and financial services. As a result, the region can boast a growing economy, currently valued at £17.3billion*. However, the region is facing a £2.5 billion productivity gap, a particularly topical challenge given the government’s national agenda for productivity.

Over the past 18-months, Dorset LEP has been gathering evidence on the region’s economy and productivity trends as part of the development of Dorset’s emerging Local Industrial Strategy (LIS). 

This research indicates that nationally, differences in productivity levels appear to be driven by differences in service sector productivity. At a local level, we’re seeing productivity gaps between areas within Dorset gradually widening, with sparsely populated rural areas particularly suffering from lower productivity levels.

Key findings also reveal that economic growth in Dorset has been relatively weak in overall terms and that not all residents have shared in economic growth; creating conditions for more inclusive growth remain important.         

Lorna Carver, Director of Dorset LEP, shared: “Achieving a significant and sustained increase in Dorset’s productivity is one of our top priorities as we develop our Local Industrial Strategy.

“Creating conditions for more inclusive growth, developing smarter, more productive businesses and workforce and reaching new global markets is critical.

“We need to strengthen our existing industrial expertise alongside the development of high growth industrial opportunities including health and social care; agriculture and environment; defence and security; and creative, digital and cultural sectors.

“As an emerging City Region in the UK, we need to exploit our outstanding coastal environment, cultural heritage and ageing population to full economic and social advantage.  There needs to be a strong focus on innovation and collaboration to drive forward ideas, investment and industry.”

Dorset LEP has been leading on the development of a Local Industrial Strategy for Dorset since December 2018, working in close collaboration with local businesses, organisations, BCP Council and Dorset Council as well as the region’s higher and further education institutions.  

Insight into the region’s productivity gap will form an instrumental part of this economic growth strategy for Dorset. 

Alongside plans for Dorset, Dorset LEP is also working in partnership with Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP and The Heart of the South West LEP, to establish the Great South West alliance. This alliance provides opportunity to work at scale on common challenges such as rural communities and an aging population. The partnership draws on our region’s common strengths, such as making the most of our natural assets to drive tourism and productivity. Common goals include being cleaner, smarter and more connected, which can be achieved by focusing on clean growth, developments in digital technology and automation, and establishing connected corridors for better networks, benefitting business output and providing better access to training and education. The Great South West also aims to be the leading region for the green and blue economies in the UK.

Find out more about Dorset’s Local Industrial Strategy on our website and read the latest GSW prospectus online.


*Office for National Statistics

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