Earlier this week, the University of Suffolk published its latest Economic Impact Assessment report.

As the report underlined, the University continues to go from strength to strength, and I am proud that Ipswich is home to such an impactful and ambitious institution.

The figures within the report are pretty staggering. In 2021-22, the University had an income of £135 million, employed over 600 members of staff, and had nearly 5,000 full-time students in Ipswich.

Yet, it is the wider impact the University brings to our town, our county, and our wider region and the UK that really emphasises the progress the University is making.

Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the monetary contribution of the University to the economy. Using this metric, the University generated a total economic impact of:

–        £237 million GVA and 1,660 jobs in Ipswich;

–        £332 million GVA and 2,740 jobs in Suffolk;

–        £484 million GVA and 3,760 jobs in the East of England; and

–        £862 million GVA and 13,570 jobs in the UK as a whole.

This means that the University adds nearly a quarter of billion pounds to the Ipswich economy, and has increased its GVA across the UK by half a billion since the previous study in 2017-18. Nearly 1,500 new jobs have been created across the country too.

Alongside the University’s Economic Impact Assessment, the University also launched its Civic University Agreement, a set of pledges that look to meet the challenges we face in the East of England, as well as leading change to improve the lives of local residents and communities.

Establishing itself as a ‘civic’ university is a crucial statement of intent. In its supporting statement, the University says it wishes to become ‘embedded, influential and a focus of societal and economic change in all the communities it serves.’

They are aware of their unique ability to bring about meaningful change, whether that is to support the redevelopment and revival of Ipswich, or to give opportunities to local young people – particularly those from backgrounds who find it difficult to access higher education – and help them onto the pathways to make their aspirations a reality.

When Darren Jones, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, came to Ipswich last week, he wanted to find out more about how a future Labour government could better support our local economy. However, he also wanted to know about how we could train the next generation, giving them the skills to take advantage of the thousands of jobs that will be created over the coming years.

It is why I wanted to bring Darren to the University, to showcase a real success story helping drive our town forward. He saw, first-hand, how people, businesses and educators are working together to boost future opportunities, and I know he has taken away key messages about what we need to grow.

Given the right support, the University can continue to flourish, helping generate hundreds of millions of pounds for our local economy, supporting thousands of jobs and, most importantly, offering people a first class education.

The University of Suffolk isn’t just part of Ipswich’s future prosperity – it’s central to it.

As a final note, I would like to pay tribute to Professor Helen Langton MBE, Vice-Chancellor and CEO, and Professor Gurpreet Jagpal, Pro Vice-Chancellor Business and Entrepreneurship. Sadly for us in Ipswich, both Professor Langton and Professor Jagpal will soon be moving onto pastures new, but I wish them every happiness, and thank them for the enormous contribution they have made to Ipswich, and our county.


I look forward to welcoming Professor Jenny Higham, Professor Langton’s successor, to Suffolk.

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