The Future PM and Cheltenham's Cyber Park

The leadership contest is in full swing. With eleven candidates declared, and more to come, it’s starting to look like the Gold Cup start-line. I will be reviewing the various pitches carefully of course. But I can’t help the sneaking feeling that anyone who actually wants to be PM at a time like this probably ought to be disqualified!

Meanwhile, my principal focus will remain the work that brought me into politics in the first place: driving social mobility in Cheltenham. For decades, social injustice has persisted in our town – with some of the country’s poorest neighbourhoods existing cheek-by-jowl with more affluent ones. I believe passionately in radical steps to tackle it.

Generating opportunities is at the heart of my plan. If we can show a young person from generations of workless households that great opportunities exist here on their doorstep, the impact can be transformational – for individuals, communities and even public health.

That’s why I’m so committed to driving the cyber vision for Cheltenham which I launched back in 2014, and which has been backed with £23 million of Government cash. That is now acting as a catalyst for remarkable local investment and innovation.

Since the pilot Cyber Innovation Centre was established in 2015, local cyber security start-ups have generated an estimated value of over £75 million. Last week I was delighted to help launch Hub8 - a new 7,000 square foot co-working space partnered with Cynam that will be opening in the Brewery Quarter this summer, dedicated to the cyber community.

Hub8, a play on Hut 8, the hut which led wartime codebreaking efforts at Bletchley Park, will bring together individual start-ups, independent SMEs and major cyber employers. It’s where Cheltenham ideas will move from start-up to scale-up, generating those precious opportunities for great jobs.

That’s fantastic news for social mobility here at home.

Any future PM must back Cyber Cheltenham if he or she wants my support.