Responding to the Government’s Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships report, which sets out changes to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), the local growth bodies that oversee significant economic development funding across the Thames Valley and England, have added their voices to the findings.
Paul Britton, Chief Executive of the Thames Valley Chamber comments, “LEPs across our membership area are playing an important role in driving forward economic growth, helping to strengthen the economic well-being of the Thames Valley. Committed to contributing to the economic growth of the region, we welcome every opportunity to ensure the voice of business is represented and heard on the LEP Boards. We also encourage them to ensure that the Chamber’s membership have every chance to actively engage and contribute to their programmes of work and will be re-iterating this message.”
Mike Spicer, BCC Director of Research and Economics, said: “Business will welcome the fact that the government’s review of LEPs clarifies what they are there to do – and makes the way they are run more transparent. Companies have long wanted LEPs to have clearer structures and greater accountability to the local private sector. Properly seen through, a number of the decisions made by ministers could help to improve the relationship between local firms and the partnerships that are tasked with prioritising how public money is invested in the local economy.
The Communities Secretary, Rt. Hon James Brokenshire MP, said: “This publication of the Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships policy represents a step change in approach for LEPs. We will continue our work to strengthen these leading institutions to develop ambitious strategies for growth and build an economy which is fit for the future.”
Locally, Andrew M. Smith, Chair of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP has stated: “We welcome today’s publication, which will enable BTVLEP to continue to build on our track record of delivery and ambitious programme for long-term economic growth in Buckinghamshire. We welcome the further support for improved business partnership delivery, setting strategic economic direction for the region, generating private sector investment, pitching for government funds, and helping local businesses to start and grow. BTVLEP will work swiftly to deliver the review’s recommendations.”
Paul Britton ended: “Within the Thames Valley we work with the respective LEPs to a varying degree and I’m proud to be a member of the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP’s Forum. Our membership also ensures that we are represented on the Oxfordshire LEP. As part of the review we will continue to invite the LEPs to engage our membership and seek business representation, from our membership, in all their activities.”