Magazine article Public Finance

LEPs 'Might Lack Clout of Regional Agencies'

Magazine article Public Finance

LEPs 'Might Lack Clout of Regional Agencies'

Article excerpt

Local Enterprise Partnerships, which are due to replace the nine English regional development agencies from 2012, might not be up to the task, MPs have been told.

The government this week confirmed that it had received 56 bids from councils and businesses across England to form LEPs.

The bidders include cities such as Liverpool and Leeds, counties such as Cumbria and Norfolk and cross-regional boundaries, such as Brighton & Hove, Croydon, the Gatwick Diamond and West Sussex. A number of bids overlap, such as one for South Somerset & East Devon and another for Devon, Plymouth & Torbay.

But as the announcement was made, a leading trade unionist told a select committee inquiry that establishing as many as 50-60 would mean each one would lack "critical mass'.

The government has not indicated how many LEPs it wants to establish.

Giving evidence to the business, innovation and skills select committee on September 7, Paul Nowak, I head of organisation and services at the Trades Union Congress, said: 'We are worried about their capacity, the resources available to them and their credibility with investors and the private sector. …

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