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New Local Enterprise Partnerships must hit the ground running, says Euro MP Liz Lynne

September 16, 2010 5:45 PM

The region's six new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) need to hit the ground running to fight for a share of business and regeneration funding, says local Liberal Democrat Euro MP Liz Lynne.

Liz, who is Co-Chair of the European Manufacturing Forum, has welcomed the launch of six proposed new Local Enterprise Partnerships across the West Midlands Region by councils and business groups.

Liz Lynne pledged to do what she can to help the LEPs co-ordinate bids for European and other funding and welcomed the parallel launch of the new £1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Liz Lynne said: "The Regional Development Agencies did do some things well but were inevitably centralised and bureaucratic.

"The new Local Enterprise Partnerships will be leaner and more local and I know this is welcome in many parts of this region. The shire counties, the Black Country and Birmingham have different needs to stimulate local enterprise, a one size fits all approach is rarely the best.

"Herefordshire always used to be forced to work with Worcestershire by central government in the past, but now it has taken the opportunity to team up with Shropshire to form a Marches Enterprise Partnership, which makes far more sense and is great news.

"The £1 billion regional growth fund set up by Vince Cable at the Business Department could be a very significant catalyst for new private sector jobs and critical infrastructure development in all six of these new LEPs serving our region.

"They need to hit the ground running, but the early signs I see of the partnership spirit among councils and local business organisations are very encouraging.

"There are EU funds available to help regeneration and other projects to boost business and manufacturing and share best practice and LEPs will have an important role in ensuring bids are given the best possible chance of success.

"There is a need for more proactive and locally focussed, flexible policies to help growth and jobs, while cutting costs and the sea of unnecessary red tape left behind by the last government.

"In Brussels, I am keeping up the pressure on the European Commission to deliver on their promised cut of 25% on the burden of regulations for business and I will continue to work closely with the Federation of Small Business on this campaign and other areas to promote measures to help employers run their businesses effectively and efficiently.

"300,000 people work in manufacturing in our region, but Labour did little to stop this declining and even helped the sale of Cadburys by allowing Kraft to borrow from a nationalised bank.

"I am hopeful that the coalition's decentralised approach will be more effective. I hope they do make more use of budgets like the EU's globalisation adjustment fund."


Note: By the government's initial deadline last week six new Local Enterprise Partnerships had been put forward across the West Midlands Region:

Birmingham and Solihull with East Staffordshire, Lichfield and Tamworth

Coventry and Warwickshire

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire

The Black Country

The Marches - Shropshire and Herefordshire