The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has broadly welcomed the Chancellor’s Spending Review, supporting investment into infrastructure for roads, rail, broadband, science and schools.
Chris Garcia, Chief Executive of the Heart of the South West LEP said: “We are pleased to see that there are funds set aside in response to Lord Heseltine’s report, although it remains to be seen how these will be devolved to the partnerships work in reality. Channelling key funds through the LEPs will enable us to get better value for money as we can target resources where they are actually needed, working with partners to secure the most effective provision.
“It is also heartening to see that the Chancellor has acknowledged the importance of improving our infrastructure. As a peninsular LEP, we are acutely aware of our lack of resilience across our transport network; severe weather, cuts to maintenance budgets and managing the influx of traffic during busy holiday periods all mean that we are extremely reliant on an effective road and rail system. Improvements and enhancements are badly needed.
“This is an unrivalled opportunity to redress the imbalance in spending across the area with greater investment into the South West. We are awaiting the announcement from Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Danny Alexander MP) to understand more of how the infrastructure plan might evolve.
“Given that resilience is such an issue for us, we are also relieved to see that the flood defence works have been ringfenced, as these will be crucial to business confidence, as well as protecting communities across both counties.”