Lord Myners

University key catalyst of economic growth, says Exeter Chancellor

Universities will be the "powerhouses" of economic growth in the South West, predicted Lord Myners, Chancellor of Exeter University at a business summit on Friday.

Speaking at the South West Growth Summit held at the University, the former City minister said "the driving force" for growth in the region would come from "education, skills and entrepreneurship."

In a key-note address, Lord Myners, the former City minister, highlighted the important role that Exeter University plays in promoting growth in the regional economy.

 Speaking alongside Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, he said: "We will not compete on capital. We will not compete on the other drivers of competitive advantage. It is our people which are our most important assets."

Lord Myners, a former member of the Court of the Bank of England, told the audience how Exeter is one of the country's top 10 universities, and has seen a 47 per cent increase in applicants from school-leavers in the last five years.

The cross-bench Peer added: "I think that education has got to be the catalyst for change. It's got to be the enabler and the driver to create a talented workforce."

The Summit, held at the University on Friday, included Exeter University Graduate Sajid Javid, and regional MPs Gary Streeter (Tory MP for South West Devon), Geoffrey Cox (Tory MP for Torridge and West Devon) and Johnny Mercer (Tory MP for Plymouth Moor View) and Neil Parish (Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton).

The summit included speakers from local businesses, including waste management and water company Pennon, and representatives of the CBI and Exeter city council.

A former chairman of Marks & Spencer and deputy chairman of PowerGen, Lord Myners said the South West is "a great place to do business."

But he warned: "We need to continue to develop skills to ensure that we have the best workforce to exploit the opportunities that are available."

Date: 21 October 2016

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