Local Enterprise Partnership proposal finalised
Published on Tuesday, 7th September 2010
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Regional business and political leaders joined forces on Friday 3 September to sign up to an exciting new Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) that will cover Birmingham, Solihull, Lichfield, Tamworth and East Staffordshire.
The move came ahead of the Government's deadline of 6 September for local authorities and businesses to submit joint proposals on the formation of LEPs, which will in part replace some of the roles and functions of existing regional development agencies.
The LEP proposals, which were unveiled on the day, are based on the uniquely shared economic, social and cultural geography of the member areas, in particular the desire to make sure the area encompasses where local people live and work - known as their 'travel to work area'.
Councillor Mike Wilcox, Leader of Lichfield District Council, commented: "We are delighted to be joining forces with business leaders and councils across Birmingham, Solihull, Tamworth, Burton and neighbouring areas to drive forward this new Local Economic Partnership.
"Sitting just north of the Birmingham conurbation, our businesses' prosperity, community vibrancy and economic growth are all intrinsically linked. By coming together we can work jointly to address common challenges, and present new and more wide-reaching solutions.
"Our ultimate aim will be to stimulate economic growth, new and varied jobs, and business opportunities across the partnership area and beyond, and we're looking forward to playing a pivotal role in this.
"So that we can get the most benefit for our district, we are also looking to join the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire LEP."
Aims underpinning the LEP include a desire to:
- Increase economic output (GVA) in the area by £8.25 billion by 2020.
- Create 100,000 private sector jobs by 2020.
- Stimulate growth in the business stock, survival rates and business profitability.
- Boost indigenous and inward investment.
- Achieve global leadership in key sectors, including: automotive assembly, low carbon research and development, transport and building technologies, business, professional and financial services, clinical trials, creative and digital sectors.
- Build a world class workforce with the skills needed to achieve our ambitions while dramatically reducing worklessness.
If given the go-ahead the proposals suggest a Shadow LEP Board could be established by 1 November, and during its first year of operation would seek to:
- Extend access to finance, including via the Investbx stock exchange.
- Agree a single approach to skills, inward investment and planning.
- Secure further commitments on the airport runway extension, High Speed Rail and superfast broadband; as well as keeping New Street Gateway on-track.
- Secure support for Accelerated Development Zones and a building retrofit programme.
Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "The Birmingham-Solihull relationship will be the foundation upon which we build a powerful new strategic partnership, and I am delighted that Lichfield, Tamworth, and East Staffordshire have agreed to become part of our LEP - and can confirm we are in discussions with Bromsgrove and their Leader, Roger Hollingworth. Most importantly, our LEP is one of consenting partners who recognise the economic interrelationship underpinned by travel to work patterns - and are determined to add real economic value."
Ian Hedley, Leader of Solihull Council, added: "This offers us a great opportunity to work together as partners - businesses and local authorities - to make a real difference. Combining Solihull's strengths with those of Birmingham, and with our partners in East Staffordshire, Lichfield and Tamworth, and with the talent and ambition in our businesses and communities - will let us achieve far more together than we could do alone."