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Posted on:
24th July, 2018

LEP business leaders back strengthened role for LEPs

The Government has today published its LEP review - 'Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships'.

LEP business leaders back strengthened role for LEPs

LEP business leaders today welcomed publication of the government’s Review of Local Enterprise Partnerships, and the additional £20m funding that underpins it. It will enable LEPs to continue to build on their strengths as unique business led local organisations, brokering business partnerships, developing local Industrial Strategies, and setting the economic direction that shapes their local area.  

In return for building their reformed role, LEP business leaders want to see a commitment from government to the funding and means to deliver the scale of opportunity that the review offers.  LEP leaders also want to see a joint commitment from government departments to the localism agenda, and confirmation that LEPs will oversee the local allocations of the UKSPF. 

Local Growth Minister, Jake Berry MP, said:

“We’ve committed over £9 billion to help LEPs through three rounds of Growth Deals to deliver on their investment priorities, while creating new and exciting economic opportunities for local businesses and communities across the country.

“This landmark shake-up of our local enterprise partnerships will help us deliver on our pledge to deliver over £12 billion through the Local Growth Fund by 2021 while allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to deliver inclusive growth.”

Publication of the review follows on from the successful Prime Minister’s first Council of LEP Chairs held in June, as part of their ongoing role in developing local Industrial Strategies, and preparing for implementation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). 

Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, and LEP Review Panel member, Christine Gaskell MBE DL, said:

“LEPs welcome the conclusions and recommendations of the government’s Review of Local Enterprise Partnerships and the additional funding which will enable us to continue to play a pivotal role in building an ambitious programme for long-term local economic growth.

“The next step for LEPs is to work in tandem with government to deliver on all of the review’s recommendations in the coming months, many of which are already underway.

“But, as LEPs strengthen their capacity and capability in line with the recommendations of the review, it’s vital that they are underpinned by a matching commitment from the Government to equip us with the funding and the means to deliver truly local strategies that will grow the productivity of the people, firms and industries in our areas”

The key areas the review looked at include:

  • The roles and responsibilities of LEPs.
  • Leadership and organisational capacity – including induction and training and ‘capacity funding’
  • Accountability and performance
  • LEP legal structures.
  • Increasing representation and diversity on LEP Boards.
  • LEP Geographies and boundaries – including removing overlaps and mergers.
  • The role of the LEP Network in supporting LEPs.

Other LEP business leaders from across the country have given their reaction to the review.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East LEP, said:

“This is a welcome move by the Government, which will provide clarity on the role of LEPs going forward. It reinforces the benefits of a strong business voice in leading strategic economic policy and investments.

“The fact that the Local Industrial Strategies will be developed across LEP geographies is extremely positive and will support the ongoing delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan.

“We are recognised by Government as a strong LEP already and are well positioned to meet the roles and opportunities set out in the Review.”

Professor Steve West CBE DL, Chair of the West of England LEP,

“This is great news; the West of England is in a good place. We’ve already started working on an ambitious Local Industrial Strategy, and the LEP is playing a central role in developing this, to boost productivity within the region.”

“The announcement coincides with the findings of Government’s review into Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), which demonstrates Government’s commitment to strengthen the role of LEPs, setting out a clear role for business at the heart of local decisions about economic growth.”

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP, and Chair of the government’s Northern Powerhouse advisory body, NP11, said:

“We welcome the Government’s continued commitment to local enterprise partnerships as effective vehicles for driving inclusive economic growth which benefits all our communities and this represents the logical next step of their development.

“It is important LEPs are ready for the opportunities and challenges ahead and we will be consulting widely and working constructively with our regional partners to agree the best way forward.

“The Government has rightly given areas the opportunity to determine their own arrangements and we intend to respond positively and quickly with proposals that address the review’s recommendations in a way that delivers for the region.”

Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Chair of the South East Midlands LEP, said:

"I warmly welcome this timely review and applaud the government for undertaking it. 

“It will enable LEPs to strengthen our governance, emphasize our key business partnership role in economic development and in raising levels of productivity across the country at a critical point in the UK’s history.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The government’s ‘Strengthening Local Enterprise Partnerships’ review is available here and the MHCLG news release is here.
  2. The government also announced an additional £20m of funding for LEPs and that the North East, Tees Valley, West of England, Leicester & Leicestershire, Cheshire & Warrington and the Heart of the South West were announced as the second wave of areas to benefit from working with the government to develop their local Industrial Strategies.
  3. The first Council of Local Enterprise Partnership Chairs was held on 19 June and was originally announced in the 2017 Industrial Strategy White Paper as a new forum for LEP business leaders to help shape national policy decisions and ensure closer cooperation with the Government on Industrial Strategy objectives. A full readout of the meeting can be viewed here.
  4. The LEP Network is a gateway to news and information which enables England’s 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to come together on areas of shared importance, engage with Government, and share knowledge and best practice. The Network is also there to help those outside the world of LEPs, understand what a LEP is, what LEPs are trying to achieve and how to engage further with the relevant LEP. Each of the 38 LEP Boards comprises representatives from local authorities and private enterprise. 
  5. To locate your nearest LEP please go to: https://www.lepnetwork.net/about-leps/location-map/
  6. For further information about LEPs please go to: https://www.lepnetwork.net/