Headlines: July 1st, 2010

A think tank says the Local Enterprise Partnerships being proposed by the Government could become engine rooms for growth and could build on work that has already been done around the country. The New Local Government Network was responding to the announcement of the Regional Growth Fund and information on the new Partnerships sent to councils and business leaders.

Anna Turley, the Acting Director of the NLGN said it wholeheartedly welcomed and endorsed the announcement that local areas would be encouraged to come together and collaborate to drive enterprise and business growth in their areas. “LEPs can become an engine room for economic growth in their local areas building on the excellent work done already through Multi-Area Agreements and other partnerships,’ she said.

It would be crucial for the Partnerships to have strong lines of accountability to their areas through democratically-elected leadership alongside strong and energetic business leadership. Ms Turley said the NLGN’s own research and Forum for Local Partnerships had shown the benefits this type of strategic approach could have in driving local enterprise, the skills and jobs agenda and on planning, infrastructure and transport. It was vital that local partnerships had the necessary tools and status to work effectively.

Welcoming the billion pound Regional Growth Fund and its positive signals to support private enterprise, she warned: “Ministers should be mindful of the dangers of future funding decisions in economic development and growth being drawn upwards into remote corridors of Whitehall.”