Regional Economy

South Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (Solent LEP area) have the potential to deliver sustainable economic growth for the UK economy.  The strategy for growth is based on the need to make the best use of our outstanding assets of highly-skilled people, world-class businesses, land for development and world leading higher education establishments.

Since 2008 the area has witnessed strong private sector jobs growth driven by the development of more knowledge based industries and high value advanced manufacturing.

In the period to 2026 the area will capitalise on its strengths and through collaboration, commit to creating greater levels of wealth creation through additional private sector growth. In addition to current trends the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership is planning to create 10,000 new jobs, contributing to GVA growth of 2.1% which equates to an extra £1 billion of economic value.

Key Facts:

  • A total population of 1.5 million (2011) of which 63% are of working age

  • Local GVA £23.7 billion, supporting 485,000 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs  

  • Part of the wider South East regional economy valued at £187 billion (GVA, 2010)  

  • 50,000 businesses (VAT registered stock)

  • Strategic sectors include - marine, aerospace, defence-related industries, advanced manufacturing, transport and logistics

  • Leading companies include – IBM, BAE Systems, EADS Astrium, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Zurich, Lloyds Register Group, Skandia, QinetiQ, Carnival UK and B&Q

  • 7 out of the top 10 global aerospace companies operate from the area

  • Southampton Airport services 43 European destinations and 1.76 million passengers

  • The Port of Southampton is one of the largest in the UK, providing £1.2 billion of local output per annum

  • Portsmouth International Port is the UK's premier port for the western channel and second-busiest cross-channel ferry port

  • The area has a number of strategic employment sites with over 110 hectares of land for development  

  • The Solent Enterprise Zone now has in place a £27 million infrastructure package to enable the delivery of 800 jobs by 2015

  • The University of Southampton is one of only 19 UK universities to be ranked among the top 100 in the world

  • The area is home to the universities of Southampton, Portsmouth, Winchester and Southampton Solent University

  • 55,000 students are educated in the area, a higher proportion than for the South East or Great Britain

  • 32% of the working age population hold higher level qualifications (degree level or higher)