Local Enterprise Partnership covering Plymouth welcomes Budget
THE Local Enterprise Partnership which covers Plymouth has welcomed the Chancellor's Budget announcement – because it outlined how recommendations from the Heseltine report will be implemented.
In January, former West Country MP and ex-Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine revealed details of his plan for regions to create jobs and boost economic growth by being given direct access to Government cash, rather than having purse strings controlled from London.
The Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has welcomed this, and, therefore, George Osborne's Budget statement.
Tim Jones, chair of the HotSW LEP said: "We are encouraged and pleased to see a move towards the single-pot funding system.
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"This will enable us to adopt a more focused approach, targeting investment at a local level in greatest areas of opportunity, and, of course, need.
"Understanding the local picture and nuances across our four authorities has been one of the key tasks for the LEP and we are proud of our achievements in securing transition funding, rural growth network investment and other funds specifically targeted at tackling local issues."
Mr Jones said the LEP's access to Whitehall had been good and steadily improved, but added: "We are nonetheless pleased to see this has been formally recognised and the appropriate structures are being put into place.
"Our ability to inform and influence policy is dependent on ensuring effective communications and this will greatly assist our work in advocating the needs of the HotSW with central Government."
Private Sector HotSW board member and chief executive of Peninsula Enterprise Adam Chambers said: "We will be interested to learn how the funding will be allocated as the HotSW does not have the critical mass in many respects that many cities and urban centres are able to command.
"We urge the Chancellor to look at a blend of funding mechanisms, which recognise the largely rural nature of our area, but give it the scope to realise its potential, contributing to economic growth across the peninsula.
"However, we welcome the Government's intention to look at further deregulation of the private sector.
"It has been instrumental in creating growth across the manufacturing and retail sectors by cutting unnecessary red tape and is a positive and helpful move."
Plymouth City Council Leader Tudor Evans said: "We are heartened by the commitment to develop strategic economic plans in conjunction with the LEP and local authorities.
"This will help to strengthen our local partnership and joint understanding of the issues that affect our area.
"The local authorities are the engines behind the HotSW, providing the economic intelligence and resource to develop effective initiatives.
"By combining public and private sector practice we can develop a much more creative approach, and maximise our chances of success."