The prospect of Southampton becoming a ‘Freeport’ coupled with the recent news that the airport located in Eastleigh has been granted permission to extend the runway should be used as a catalyst or a springboard for economic growth and investment that will benefit the county.
Isn’t it now time consider a post pandemic campaign for Hampshire to stage a trade fair, to showcase the best of Hampshire and what it can offer prospective investors? County and local council facilities along with private venues and capital should be utilised to showcase our county. Such a bold move would surely deserve government backing and support.
A rolling trade show with multiple venues over a period of up to six months or more is but one option to consider. We already have the Farnborough Air Show on a planned schedule, so why not consider this as a template for a timetable? Our maritime heritage should be exploited to the fullest extent. Over the years, both Southampton and Portsmouth have successfully been involved with Global Ocean Race and the Americas cup. Portsmouth has contributed to the construction of this country’s two aircraft carriers. Cowes puts on an annual world-renowned Regatta. The world would be focused on these venues, so why not exploit them to the fullest extent for business, leisure and tourism.
Let’s not also forget that we are blessed with some fantastic seats of learning throughout the county, which can also be included in such a venture. How about a competition for students to encourage invention and innovation? District heats culminating in a countywide final with cash prizes and the chance of gaining employment or starting new businesses should be something to inspire fertile minds. Investing in people and their ideas has been sorely lacking over so many years. We need to treat our students, our young engineers, and builders in such a way to encourage them to help build a future for our country.
Bringing together the business, banking / finance, and education communities along with Chambers of Commerce and the many business networking groups under the auspices of such a venture, is in my opinion, a serious way to kick start serious economic growth in Hampshire. With the rail, road, air and sea links already in place, the county is in an ideal location to attract new investment.
Hampshire Independents call upon all political parties and the people of our county to come together in an effort to forge a new era of prosperity for our county.