WE constantly hear about the activities of the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine-economic models, which started evolving five years ago.

So, where is the Powerhouse to drive the burgeoning economy of the west and attract investment?

This region has just not got its act together up until now with the concept of the Great Western Powerhouse being launched in the House of Lords to council leaders, including Stroud’s Doina Cornell.

I welcome this overdue concept. But having looked through the glossy brochure A Powerhouse for the West it is short on detail about how Gloucestershire might fit into the wider economic picture.

It looks to me this is because it’s based on an original exploratory report in 2016 that examined the case for a Powerhouse centred around Bristol, Cardiff and Newport.

So, what does this new report mean for Stroud and the Five Valleys?

Simply, it gives Stroud a seat at the regional table and a better opportunity to create a role for itself.

I believe the concept will give our area a better chance of developing improved rail links -vital if we are to retain more of our young people.

Vital if we are to ensure that rural-based businesses like Renishaw-Gloucestershire’s largest private company-can rely on better rail services to aid recruitment.

I think you have to accept there is a lot of politics around this Powerhouse proposal.

And in Gloucestershire, a united front in council thinking is often affected by the layers of district councils which operate here.

But all journeys must start with a single step.

This is that first step and Stroud must not be left behind in the region’s wider collaboration plans.

Stroud and the Five Valleys have often tended to fall down an economic gap between Bristol and Gloucester. That must not be allowed to happen.