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LEP leaders tell Prime Minister Local Industrial Strategies are on target
The Prime Minister met with business leaders from England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) today to track progress on their work with government to boost economic growth for communities across the country.
The Prime Minister heard from business leaders representing each of the LEPs across England including Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP Chair, Mark Duddridge.
The LEP chairs briefed the Prime Minister on the development of their Local Industrial Strategies – blueprints for driving long-term productivity and prosperity – which will see LEPs work closely with government to unlock local growth.
The council also covered updates on the timelines for delivering the Local Industrial Strategies, engagement with SMEs and rural communities, progress against the Grand Challenges identified in the Government’s Industrial Strategy which aim to keep the UK at the forefront of key global trends, and discussion around the latest business intelligence from across the country ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May said:“Local Enterprise Partnerships have a vital role to play in delivering our modern Industrial Strategy.
“Working closely with government, their leadership is helping make sure businesses thrive as we prepare to leave the European Union.
“I was pleased to hear directly from LEP representatives how they are bringing together the local business community, universities and other partners to design long-term, ambitious plans tailored to the strengths and needs of their areas.
“Using their unique insight and expertise to co-develop Local Industrial Strategies, LEPs are boosting economic growth, securing jobs and delivering prosperity – making sure that no community is left behind.”
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP Chair Mark Duddridge said: “It was a wide-ranging discussion with the Prime Minister, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire, and what’s absolutely clear is that Government views Local Industrial Strategies as crucial to directing future funding, and that LEPs must lead that process by engaging with business, local authorities and higher education in particular, which is exactly what we will be doing in the coming months.
“Brexit loomed large in the discussions, and it was an opportunity to press our case as the country’s only less developed region. Our argument is that we should not be left worse off after Brexit under the Government’s proposed Shared Prosperity Fund because we would still have qualified for hundreds of millions of pounds of EU investment based on economic need.
“I think there is still a lack of understanding about the significant contribution that smaller rural economies can make to the Government’s Industrial Strategy ambitions, and that is one of our challenges. But we will continue to press for investment to support our ambitious business community to take advantage of emerging opportunities, and make the case for ring-fenced funding to address deep-rooted productivity issues.”
Co-chair of today’s meeting and Chair of the South East Midlands LEP, Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, said: “LEP leaders were pleased to talk to the Prime Minister today about the impact that Local Industrial Strategies will have on productivity and economic growth in our respective areas, and confirming that we are all on target to deliver them on schedule.
“LEPs are uniquely placed to build economic growth and productivity in our areas, and to exploit the vast business expertise in finding solutions to the four ‘grand challenges’ we all face and to tackle the Foundations of Productivity identified in the Industrial Strategy. Today’s meeting also allowed LEP business leaders to discuss how local businesses in their area are responding to, and preparing for, the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“This is the second meeting of the PM’s Council of LEP Chairs and firmly establishes the central role LEPs have in leading economic growth in their areas and the valuable dialogue with the Prime Minister that this council brings.
“Our unique partnership of private and public sector leaders with a solid track record of delivery, plays to our core strengths helping to build an ambitious programme of long-term local economic growth and increased productivity that works for everyone, no matter where they live.”