Ministers hosted a round table meeting with stakeholders on Wednesday to discuss the creation of local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), tipped to replace the Regional Development Agencies.
Business groups, local authorities and think tanks put forward their views to Mark Prisk, the minister for regional and local economic development, and Greg Clark, the minister for decentralisation on the creation of LEPs- new joint local authority and business-led organisations.
LEPs are not expected to take on all the functions of the outgoing RDAs, but will instead focus on housing, planning, local transport and infrastructure, employment and enterprise and the transition to the low carbon economy. Inward investment, sector leadership, responsibility for business support, innovation, and access to finance will be dealt with at a national level, the Government says.
It’s anticipated that some local enterprise partnerships will be in place by the end of the year to shadow the Regional Development Agencies, which will be wound up by March 2012.
“Our structural reforms call for a bottom-up approach. Today’s positive meeting saw business and council leaders engage in a helpful conversation about forming effective partnerships that can provide real strategic leadership and drive local economic growth. I was grateful to hear their views and I’m looking forward to seeing the results of our discussion in action over the coming weeks and months” said Mr Prisk.
Last May, the Business Secretary Vince Cable called for RDAs to be abolished as part of the Government’s plan to cut the national deficit.