Local Enterprise Partnerships continue their – albeit slow – roll out. Many are beginning to benefit from LEP start up funding as well as more co-ordinated action. The first meeting of the LEP Network took place yesterday led by former British Chambers of Commerce director-general David Frost. It brings together the 37 partnerships so far established, with its first meeting addressed by three senior ministers.
The creation of Enterprise Zones by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull and the Black Country LEPs are the most notable features of the Partnerships, although much work is still to be completed on the detail of how they will work.
Greater Birmingham has already had success with bids to the Regional Growth Fund, chaired by Lord Heseltine, and has joined forces with three other LEPs – including the Black Country and Coventry & Warwickshire – for a bid in the second round. If successful, funds will be utilised to finance capital projects and stimulate business growth among small and medium sized companies (SMEs).
LEP observers will be watching for any impact on the ground following Nick Clegg’s speech at the LSE this week. He committed to prioritising infrastructure project bids in the RGF second round that will deliver sustainable economic growth; drawing up new money-raising powers for councils to borrow against future growth from locally raised business rates and giving communities more power over the funding and decisions for local transport schemes.
- LEPs join forces to bid for growth fund cash (thebusinessdesk.com)
- Other UK business news: Four enterprise zones expected to create 46,000 jobs in West Midlands (birminghampost.net)