The Parliamentary Yearbook is currently gathering news items for major features on the regeneration of our urban landscape in the next edition and has been following the progress of Local Enterprise Partnerships since their launch in the Summer of 2010
The Government yesterday announced core funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to allow them to drive forward their growth priorities.
Local Enterprise Partnerships are central to the Government’s approach to driving local economic growth and for ensuring that every community is able to fulfil its potential. This offer of over £24million from Government could unlock up to £20million locally and will enable Local Enterprise Partnerships to deliver their local plans for growth.
LEPs are locally-owned partnerships between local authorities and businesses and play a central role in determining local economic priorities and undertaking activities to drive economic growth and the creation of local jobs. They are also a key vehicle in delivering Government objectives for economic growth and decentralisation, whilst also providing a means for local authorities to work together with business in order to quicken the economic recovery.
This is a key change in the approach to how local economic development happens – local authorities and central government used to ask business to comment on strategies that were developed but now the business community is in the driving seat.
Local Enterprise Partnerships now cover 94 per cent of all businesses in England. They represent 22 million employees or 95 per cent of the total workforce.
There are 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships across England. Each Local Enterprise Partnership is made up of local businesses working in partnership with a combination of local authorities. Each Local Enterprise Partnership is different – each one reflects the need of local businesses and the local economy. As Local Enterprise Partnerships are based on more meaningful economic areas, they are better placed to determine the needs of the local economy along with a greater ability to identify barriers to local economic growth.
Yesterday’s announcement means that an interim £5million funding package will be made available immediately for all Local Enterprise Partnerships to draw upon for the remainder of this financial year. This will be followed by up to £250,000 per Local Enterprise Partnership per year for the following two years. Where matched by funds locally the overall funding pot could equate up to £45million over this period. The central government funding will be provided on a 50/50 basis by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk said:
“Today’s £25million boost will give Local Enterprise Partnerships the financial stability they need going forward, to build on their early successes and tailor the support they offer to local needs. If matched by local support, this could mean that up to £45million will be available to help Local Enterprise Partnerships turn their plans into jobs and growth.”
Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon, said:
“It is crucial we arm Local Enterprise Partnerships with the tools and resources they need to play a prominent role in delivering growth and jobs for their communities. This funding will help Local Enterprise Partnerships plan for the long term and ensure they can remain locally-led instead of dependent on central government support.
“We need to ensure Local Enterprise Partnerships remain voluntary business and civic partnerships so they are in the best possible position to deliver sustainable growth and job creation in their areas. Already we are seeing Local Enterprise Partnerships across England delivering innovative schemes in their communities. This financial support will help the partnerships to continue this work.”
Local Enterprise Partnerships will be invited to bid for matched funding for 2013/14 and 2014/15, setting out how they would be able to offer a cash match from public or private resources. Details of the scope of the match will be discussed with Local Enterprise Partnerships shortly.
The Government made £5million of core funding available to Local Enterprise Partnerships last year to help them start up and establish themselves through financial support for things such as board support, development of priorities and business engagement. This was followed by a further £4million to build capacity over a four year period.
For 2013/14 and 2014/15, matched funding will be offered of up to £250,000 per LEP per annum, with DCLG and BIS together contributing £10million per year. Local Enterprise Partnerships wishing to utilise this funding will be required to source match funding of equal value.
This brief article summarises the situation as it stands today. We shall be adding to the article as there are further developments and any changes to the plans will be reflected in the content. The full report will be published in print and online in the next edition of the Parliamentary Yearbook.
18th September 2012