Leeds City Region welcomes bold Heseltine proposals
The Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) today called on Government to respond positively to Lord Heseltine’s report into UK growth policy.
Speaking at the launch of the report in Birmingham, LEP Chair Neil McLean said:
“Lord Heseltine’s report includes some bold, transformative proposals that would be a step-change in enabling places like Leeds City Region to take charge of their own economic destiny. The devolution of real powers and significant, flexible budgets to LEPs would cement the progress we have made with our City Deal, with future investment in all areas key to growth driven by local decisions and following local priorities.
“In the Leeds City Region we would also be confident in facing Lord Heseltine’s radical proposal of a competition between LEPs for this devolved funding. Whether or not Government embraces that, I urge them to respond positively to the thrust of his recommendations to give LEPs extra flexibility and firepower to deliver on our ambitions.”
Key elements of Lord Heseltine’s report welcomed by Leeds City Region include:
- bringing together substantial amounts of government capital funding into a single pot to be made available to LEPs;
- simplification of the way EU funds are managed in England, with alignment of EU and non-EU funding to support local investment programmes;
- rationalisation of the Government’s presence outside Whitehall, with the creation of Local Growth Teams to work in partnership with LEPs on the development and implementation of their growth plans; and
- further enhancement of LEPs’ role in the prioritisation of skills funding.
The detail of the substantial report, which contains some 89 separate recommendations, will need careful consideration both by central government and locally. In particular, it includes recommendations on complex issues relating to LEP boundaries, local government structures and electoral cycles that may prove challenging to take forward.
But the report’s overall vision is radical, imaginative and empowering for places like Leeds City Region, and the LEP urges Government to respond to the challenge it poses positively and creatively.