Surrey County Council Cabinet member Tony Samuels today (25 April) spoke at a Westminster event looking at how councils and businesses can work better together to stimulate economic growth.
The event also examined ways councils and firms could join forces to transform public services.
Joining Mr Samuels for the discussion were Andy Bagnall, head of public services reform at the Confederation of British Industry, and Matthew Pinner, the Federation of Small Businesses’ policy advisor.
Others involved in the debate included May Gurney chief executive Philip Fellowes-Prynne and the chairman of the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee Clive Betts.
Mr Samuels, Surrey’s Cabinet Member for Assets and Regeneration Programmes, said: “Our approach involves everyone working together as one team – whether we are a council, a business or a voluntary group – in the best interests of Surrey.”
He told the event organised by infrastructure, maintenance and engineering company May Gurney that councils needed to get together with each other and business to “stimulate growth and regeneration”.
Surrey has been helping companies make the most of opportunities provided by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. So far more than £740 million worth of 2012 Games related contracts have been won by Surrey businesses, which has boosted the local economy by around 3%.
The county council aims to help double the size of Surrey’s economy in the next 20 years. This will include ensuring 100% superfast broadband coverage in the county to help firms do business online.
Mr Samuels added: “We’ve been working with businesses to promote innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship and to ensure people have the skills they need to succeed that will also further Surrey’s economic success.”
In addition, he pointed to the council contributing directly to the local economy with its pledge to commit 60% of its spending on goods and services to local firms.