New Chair To Target Rural Growth and SMEs
David A Kerfoot MBE DL has been appointed as our new Chair promising to make the region the driving force in government policy on rural growth.
Mr Kerfoot, an entrepreneur, who grew his business from a back bedroom into a global business, replaces Barry Dodd LL CBE, who is stepping down after six successful years.
Speaking following his appointment, Mr Kerfoot said:
“I want to start by paying tribute to my predecessor Barry Dodd. Barry has shown real leadership, not just locally attracting in excess of £250m investment and championing transformational projects such as York Potash and Bridlington Harbour, but also nationally, being a fixture on the National LEP Network Board which has worked with government to strengthen the commitment and role of LEPs.”
“We are in a great position as a LEP, having a strong track record of delivering on our promises and close working relationships with partners across the region. I want to build on this and make sure the enormous potential of this stunning and unique region is realised.”
LEPs are leading the development of Local Industrial Strategies which will set out the priorities and investments needed to maximise local growth as the UK leaves the EU.
James Farrar, Chief Operating Officer of the LEP welcomed the appointment:
“It’s been an incredible honour to work with Barry over the past six years, but David is a fantastic appointment for us. We are facing a critical time, with the UK exiting from the EU which means there is going to be significant change, particularly in rural areas. The Local Industrial Strategy provides an opportunity to identify our unique strengths and make the case to government that investing in rural areas is essential to the success of the UK economy. David’s passion, understanding and commitment towards rural areas and small business make him ideally placed to lead this development.”
Mr Kerfoot added:
“The true value of a rural economy and how the most successful cities are inevitably surrounded by vibrant rural communities is often underestimated. Government policy has often been city focused, but that needs to change. We need to recognise the real value of natural assets and invaluable small businesses that they give rise to. Whether it’s providing the supply chains for household names such as McCains, investing upstream to protect cities from flooding or providing the world class tourism offer which attracts millions of visitors every year, rural Yorkshire is an economic powerhouse. With York showing real ambition and leading the way with its gigabyte connections, we need to ensure rural areas are digitally connected so that we continue to lead the way, attracting new investment and innovation to accompany our quality of life.”
Set up by government, we are a business led partnership with the public sector, responsible for driving growth across the region. Continuing its track record of consistently delivering against government promises, the LEP will be investing £27.1m in its Local Growth Fund projects in the next financial year to help unlock economic growth.
Currently, in its work developing a local Industrial Strategy, we are publishing a series of think pieces to inspire people to contribute their views to build a shared understanding of how to establish a shared understanding of the area’s economic opportunities. Take a look here to have your say