>Proposals for twenty-five Local Enterprise Partnerships [LEPs] were recently given the go ahead by Government.
The White Paper proposes that Local Enterprise Partnerships will be able to consider a diverse range of roles, reflecting the local priorities, including:
– working with Government to set out key investment priorities, including transport infrastructure
– coordinating proposals or bidding directly for the Regional Growth Fund
– supporting high growth businesses, for example through involvement in bids to run the new “growth hubs”
– participation in the development of national planning policy and ensuring business is involved in the consideration of strategic planning applications
– lead changes in how businesses are regulated locally
– strategic housing delivery, including pooling and aligning funding streams
– working with local employers, Jobcentre Plus and learning providers to help local workless people into jobs
– coordinating approaches to leverage funding from the private sector
– exploring opportunities for developing incentives on renewable energy projects and Green Deal
– involvement in the delivery of other national priorities such as digital infrastructure
Only the “largest” LEPs will be able to “play a strong role” in ex-RDA functions such as promoting enterprise, innovation, trade and inward investment and support for venture capital schemes. However, all LEPs can take on responsibility for low carbon; business advice; tourism; skills (working as partners with Skills Funding Agency); and regeneration (working with Homes & Communities Agency).
The list of 25 agreed LEPs is shown below:
Birmingham & Solihull with E. Staffordshire
Lichfield & Tamworth
Cheshire and Warrington
Coast to Capital
Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly
Coventry & Warwickshire
Gt. Cambridge & Gt. Peterborough
Kent, Greater Essex & East Sussex
Leeds City Region
Leicester & Leicestershire
Liverpool City Region
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby, & Derbyshire
Oxfordshire City Region
Sheffield City Region
Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire
Thames Valley Berkshire
West of England
“Credible business engagement is particularly important if partnerships are to realise the economic potential of their area” says a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills [BIS]. With no funding from central Government, the challenge now is to ensure that the LEPs don’t simply become another layer of bureaucracy or a talking shop.
The SGBA are in active discussions to work with LEP’s in our area (Coast to Capital and Solent) to continue the vital support of SME’s and help deliver business excellence.