Heart of the South West will rise to the challenge as Government strengthens the role of LEPs

The Government’s Review of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) published yesterday, will enable LEPs to continue to build on their strengths as unique business led local organisations, brokering business partnerships to deliver projects at pace, setting the strategic economic direction that shapes their region, generating private sector investment, pitching for government funds, and helping local businesses to start and grow. 

The Heart of the South West (HotSW) LEP, which covers Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay, is one of the largest LEPs in the country and one of the more high profile and successful LEPs. HotSW LEP has formed successful relationships with Government and secured an investment programme of circa £750 million for schemes and initiatives that generate growth and improve productivity and prosperity. Also, announced by the Government yesterday, HotSW is one of the six LEPs in the country to benefit from the second round of Industrial Strategies, which will allow local leaders to harness the strengths of their own areas in a targeted approach.

Publication of the review follows on from the successful Prime Minister’s first Council of LEP Chairs held in June, as part of their ongoing role in developing Local Industrial Strategies and preparing for implementation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).  

The review examined some specific areas including:
• The roles and responsibilities of LEPs.
• LEP legal structures.
• Funding of LEPs.
• Increasing diversity on LEP  Boards.
• Strengthening the private sector business voice in shaping local strategic economic growth.
• Reviewing overlapping and LEP geographies.

• The role of the LEP Network in supporting LEPs.

Local Growth Minister, Jake Berry MP, said:

“We’ve committed over £9 billion to help LEPs through three rounds of Growth Deals to deliver on their investment priorities, while creating new and exciting economic opportunities for local businesses and communities across the country.  

“This landmark shake-up of our local enterprise partnerships will help us deliver on our pledge to deliver over £12 billion through the Local Growth Fund by 2021 while allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to deliver inclusive growth.”

Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP Steve Hindley CBE, DL said “We welcome the LEP review, as it shows the Government’s increasing assurance that we can and will deliver improved prosperity, which was a message well received when we met with the Prime Minister last month.

“At HotSW LEP we will forge ahead to build on our relationships with business and the HotSW Joint Committee to raise productivity in the area. This review is another vote of confidence in ours and other LEPs, following the announcement earlier this week that HotSW is one of six new areas to benefit from an Industrial Strategy which will further enhance our relationship with Government.

Welcoming the Review of LEPs, Director of the LEP Network, Warren Ralls, said:

“LEPs welcome the conclusions and recommendations of the government’s Review of Local Enterprise Partnerships which will enable LEPs to continue to build an ambitious programme for long-term local economic growth. That can only be good for the UK.”

The full written statement is available here.