The East Riding of Yorkshire Council together with authorities in Hull and Scarborough have put forward proposals to the Government to establish a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). This is something I really support as it will radically reshape the way business and local government work together in the future. I certainly feel that the word ‘ENTERPRISE’ in the title is the key to making the LEP work.
The Country is facing economic problems that need bottom up solutions from local communities. The proposal fits together well, not only geographically and economically but specifically in the areas of business, planning and infrastructure decisions, tourism, renewable energy and transport. As the leader of the ERYC said, “The way we intend to work will recognise the distinct but closely-related needs of city, coast and countryside.”
The key is for LEPs to be locally focused and have the flexibility to determine their own agenda, rather than have it handed down to them by Whitehall. The proposed East Riding, Hull and Scarborough LEP can rewrite the economic geography of our area to best serve the needs of local businesses, we will no longer be part of the overly large and somewhat unrepresentative QUANGO that was Yorkshire Forward and the top-down prescription approach taken by the previous Government.
The LEP will be the vehicle through which we re-build our local economy. The proposal put forward by the three Council’s is quite radical and innovative in its approach - identifying the challenges facing our local area and how we are to tackle them, and how important it is that our local area determines its own economic development and how private sector job growth is driven, by bringing council and business interests closer together to create the conditions for business to thrive and prosper.
The Government is keen to see partnerships remain proactive and maintain momentum. Over the coming weeks Ministers will consider the proposal in detail, looking at how it will support economic growth, before providing feedback to us ahead of the publication of the White Paper on sub-national economic growth and the introduction of the Localism Bill – something I personally hope to see sooner rather than later.