A NEW report has called for the south est to increase its commitment to collaboration, to ensure growth and prosperity, which has been backed by a key figure in the M3 corridor area.

The report, Next-door Neighbours – Collaborative Working Across the London Boundary highlights a number of ways in which the economies and populations of London and the wider south east are integrated and interdependent.

The report adds the regions also share significant challenges in meeting housing and infrastructure needs for current and future growth, and providing a good quality of life for all residents, many of whom risk being pushed into poverty by high housing costs.

So, the report's authors, the thinktank the Centre for London and the Southern Policy Centre, has called for a number of actions which have been endorsed by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which drives the economic growth of the area around the M3 by working with businesses, partners and central government.

The actions include developing a shared vision to face the challenges of the region, explore how to strengthen the forum representing the wider south east area and calling for government recognition of the south east's challenges, potentially by having a minister for the region.

Dr Mike Short CBE, chairman of Enterprise M3 LEP, said: “Our LEP area, which encompasses parts of both Hampshire and Surrey, is internationally focused with the largest number of foreign owned companies in the UK outside of London and a relatively high level of exports – amounting to £14.6 billion in 2015. The proximity of our area to London is integral to this economic strength and we need to collaborate to effectively harness opportunities associated with our interconnected economies.

“Collaboration with London is also essential to plan ahead and deal with challenges related to our economic ties. Transport and housing infrastructure requirements, in particular, need to be fully understood and met for our area to adapt to London’s growth. For instance, about 20,000 people moved from London into the EM3 area in 2016 and around 13% of the EM3 resident workforce commute to the Greater London area."