Lancashire and Black Country snubbed as 24 new LEPs get go-ahead

The Government has approved 24 bids for new Local Enterprise Partnerships, including from Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Cumbria, Cheshire, Warrington, Birmingham and Coventry.   
Lancashire, which controversially submitted three separate bids, and the Black Country, were among 62 bids not on the first agreed list released by the Department of Business.

Blackpool and Fylde Coast; Pennine Lancashire and Central Lancashire all submitted separate bids in a move criticised by some business leaders in the region.

The Department of Business said in a statement: “Partnerships not being approved have been informed and given feedback on how to develop their proposals further. Revised proposals will be welcomed by Government as they become ready.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable told the House of Commons that the LEPs would drive private sector growth and empower local communities with decision-making power on key issues such as transport. The new bodies take over the regional development agencies from April 2011.

Cable said he was “delighted that so many of the proposals for local enterprise partnerships showed real imagination and initiative and a genuine desire to drive local economic growth”.

John Early, the former Amec Developments boss, who will head the Greater Manchester LEP, said his organisation would now “strive to continue to create the right conditions for continued economic growth in what will be a very challenging time given the scale of cuts to public services in Manchester.

“We need to maximise our share of available public resources for investment. Our LEP will help us do this.”

The Birmingham Chamber Group, which takes in Solihull, Cannock, Lichfield, Tamworth and Burton-upon-Trent, together with its sister chamber in Coventry and Warwickshire, meanwhile, also issued statements saying they were both “delighted”.

“The hard work to replace the system of regional development agencies begins now,” said the Birmingham Chamber.

A joint statement by the four Black Country borough councils responsible for the failed bid: Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Dudley, said those responsible for the area’s bid would be renegotiating with ministers and remained confident the submission would get the go-ahead.

Caption: Vince Cable, MP

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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