Red Funnel welcomes the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP

07-07-2014 As a recipient of Solent LEP Growth Deal funding, Red Funnel welcomes Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP

(Monday July 7 2014) Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries was delighted to welcome the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise and Minister for Portsmouth, the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP to Southampton today.

Guests also included the Rt Hon Andrew Turner MP, Ian Stephens (Leader of the Isle of Wight Council), Dawn Baxendale (Chief Executive of Southampton City Council) and members of the board of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Minister’s visit was to announce an historic Growth Deal for the Solent Economy. The Deal will see millions of pounds invested by the Government in the Solent area over the next six years - creating new jobs, new homes, boosting infrastructure and transport links.

The Solent Growth Deal is part of a £12 billion six year Government programme to revitalise local economies.  The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – made up of political and business leaders – was one of 39 similar organisations across the country to bid for cash from the competitive fund.   

As one of the successful recipients of the Solent LEP growth deal, Red Funnel showed the Minister and guests around the Company’s Southampton ferry terminals and welcomed them on board the ro-pax ferry Red Falcon, which now sets the benchmark for cross-Solent travel following her recent £2.2 million refurbishment.

Kevin George CEO at Red Funnel said: “ We are delighted to see Government recognise the unique challenges that need to be addressed in relation to connectivity to the Isle of Wight and welcome the backing they have provided to fund the public infrastructure needed to develop the waterfront access in  Southampton and East Cowes. Following this significant announcement we look forward to working with the many stakeholders involved to agree the detailed plans which will enable a better ferry service with improved connectivity to trains, planes and buses, as well as creating jobs in the Solent region”.

Rt Hon Andrew Turner, MP for the Isle of Wight commented: “Good connections to the mainland are vital to our Island economy; that’s a key reason this large grant has been awarded to support major private investment.  I’m looking forward to seeing the project delivered successfully and will give any help I can to Red Funnel and other partners to help move it forward.  The announcements today, along with the recent news on Assisted Area Status, shows that this Government recognises the unique challenges the Island faces and is willing to help us with them.  I’m sure Islanders will welcome this.