Paula Swain, head of Shoosmiths’ national business debt recovery team and head of the firm’s Solent office, has been appointed as the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) representative on the Solent Freeport Consortium Board.
The Solent is one of eight regions in England selected to be a Freeport, potentially unlocking billions of pounds’ worth of investment. The Solent region already contributes £31 billion to the UK economy. Estimates suggests that Freeport status could boost that figure by an additional £3.57 billion through Gross Value Added uplift, including £1.97 billion in the Solent region and £1.6 billion in the wider UK supply chain.
The Solent LEP is a partnership between businesses, local authorities and partners in further education and plays a central role in determining local economic priorities to encourage economic growth in the region. Paula Swain joined the Solent LEP board in June 2018 and was involved in its successful bid for Freeport status. Depending on other Freeport board appointments, she may well be the only lawyer appointed by a LEP to such a position.
Paula stressed that this LEP role is quite distinct from her duties and role at Shoosmiths LLP but added: "I am excited to represent Solent LEP and to support the work of Solent Freeport where it aims to provide quality employment, investment, innovation and research opportunities together with efforts to decarbonise our environment.”