Government shake-up for Local Enterprise Partnerships welcomed by business leaders

Edwin Booth
Edwin Booth

Business leaders have welcomed a Government review of the Local Enterprise Partnerships which could see an extra £20m up for grabs in the next two years.

The LEPs are the voluntary bodies made up of businesses and local authorities set up in 2011 to lead economic growth and strategy.

The Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships review also calls for more transparency on boards and more women involved at the top level as well as agree Local Industrial Strategies with all areas of England by early 2020.

LEP chairman Edwin Booth said the review would help lay the foundations of future prosperity in the area.

He said: “The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership welcomes the findings of the government’s Review of Local Enterprise Partnerships, which confirms the crucial role LEPs nationally are playing in setting the economic direction shaping their area.

“The review shows that LEPs’ effectiveness will only be delivered through strong partnership with business, and in Lancashire we are currently expanding our board of directors to 22 to boost the private sector expertise and knowledge we can draw upon.

“The board will deliver the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan, which is underpinned by a public investment framework valued at nearly £1bn, with almost 50 strategic development, business growth, innovation, skills, infrastructure and place-marketing initiatives underway across the county.

“Lancashire has one of the largest economies in the North with over 53,000 businesses generating £29bn per year. All projections suggest our economy is set to grow significantly over the next decade, and this valuable review lays solid foundations to maximise the opportunities which lay ahead.”

Helen Gbormittah, CBI deputy regional director for the North West, said: “Local Enterprise Partnerships have an integral role in lifting productivity across the English regions, so it’s essential that they are equipped to deliver, address the right economic footprint and work collaboratively.

“Businesses across England will welcome the Government’s aim to have all local industrial strategies agreed by 2020.

“The Government and LEPs now need to put their foot on the gas to roll out local industrial strategies throughout the UK, so no region gets left behind.”