The Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) today called on Government to respond positively to Lord Heseltine’s report into UK growth policy.
Speaking at the launch of the report in Birmingham, LEP Chair Neil McLean said:
Lord Heseltine’s report is includes some bold, transformative proposals that would be a step-change in enabling places like Leeds City Region to take charge of their own economic destiny.
The devolution of real powers and significant, flexible budgets to LEPs would cement the progress we have made with our City Deal, with future investment in all areas key to growth driven by local decisions and following local priorities.
In the Leeds City Region we would also be confident in facing Lord Heseltine’s radical proposal of a competition between LEPs for this devolved funding.
Whether or not Government embraces that, I urge them to respond positively to the thrust of his recommendations to give LEPs extra flexibility and firepower to deliver on our ambitions.
Key elements of Lord Heseltine’s report welcomed by Leeds City Region include:
- bringing together substantial amounts of government capital funding into a single pot to be made available to LEPs;
- simplification of the way EU funds are managed in England, with alignment of EU and non-EU funding to support local investment programmes;
- rationalisation of the Government’s presence outside Whitehall, with the creation of Local Growth Teams to work in partnership with LEPs on the development and implementation of their growth plans; and
- further enhancement of LEPs’ role in the prioritisation of skills funding.
The detail of the substantial report, which contains some 89 separate recommendations, will need careful consideration both by central government and locally. In particular, it includes recommendations on complex issues relating to LEP boundaries, local government structures and electoral cycles that may prove challenging to take forward.
But the report’s overall vision is radical, imaginative and empowering for places like Leeds City Region, and the LEP urges Government to respond to the challenge it poses positively and creatively.
The Leeds City Region Partnership:
- The Leeds City Region (LCR) Partnership brings together a group of 11 local authorities (Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council) with businesses and partners to support economic growth and a better quality of life for our communities.
- The Leeds City Region is the largest city region economy and financial centre in the country outside London. With a £53billion economy representing 5% of England’s economy, over 100,000 businesses and a 3 million population, the city region will continue to be at the forefront in both driving the economy of the North and accelerating national economic prosperity.
- The Leeds City Region was one of the very first to form a private sector – led local enterprise partnership (LEP) and commit to working closely with both the private and public sectors in order to help businesses and the economy grow. The body representing the LEP – The LEP Board – is now working alongside the Leaders Board to deliver the Partnership’s economic development plan which was launched in September 2011.
- For more information on the Leeds City Region Partnership please visit www.leedscityregion.gov.uk