In December of last year I held the first and second of a series of Brexit roundtables, whose purpose is to underline the importance of bringing more good jobs back to Norwich. I want to see a Brexit deal that brings back good jobs to our city. So the roundtables are aimed at major industries and sectors in Norwich – I kicked things off with the science and digital technology sectors and have written a little below on the outcome of the meetings. I plan to hold more throughout the year with other major employment sectors in the city, so watch out for further updates.
The first roundtable was held with representatives from business from the science sector. The roundtable included participants from Norwich Research Park, John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Institute, Quadram, The Earlham Institute, University of East Anglia, Agritech East, NovaGraff and the Norfolk & Suffolk LEP.
Life sciences is a very important sector in our region – according to the Government’s own analysis the East of England is the second biggest contributor in the country both in terms of employment and turnover. So I am encouraging the Government to support Norwich to stay world class in science.
The second roundtable was held with representatives from the digital tech sector. Attendees were from Norwich University of the Arts, University of East Anglia, WhiteSpace, Assemble, Thyngs, Tin Can Digital, Purple Digital, Lambda Film, Hot Source and Norwich City Council investment team.
The Creative Industries are characterised by a large number of very small enterprises with 89% having fewer than five employees. I want to help Norwich stay a fast growing Tech City with 7,500 digital and creative jobs. So it is important that these businesses continue to grow as we leave the EU with new and exciting opportunities at home and abroad.
Both meetings covered a range of issues of great importance to those operating in each of the sectors and I have promised to pass these observations onto the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. I will be writing to him ahead of the next Brexit negotiating round, so he is well informed of the needs for Norwich ahead of his discussions with his EU counterparts. Following each of my Brexit Roundtables I will seek to put my findings to him, so that he is well informed of the needs of our city and region as we go into the second phase of the exit negotiations.
Of course, the views of my constituents are just as important. So if you work in life sciences or the digital & creative sector and would like to share your own thoughts on your sector and Brexit, please do get in touch.