Gordon Marsden MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Further Education, Skills and Regional Growth, responding to today’s Centre for Cities report, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs): One Year On, said:
“The Government is out of touch with the needs of businesses up and down the country and has refused to back Labour’s plan to support LEPs, while growth has flatlined. Ministers urgently need to act to give LEPs the powers and resources to do the job they have been tasked with. The Tory-led Government should adopt Labour’s clear five-point plan to create jobs, help struggling families and support small businesses. This includes £195 million additional funding for the regional growth fund to help businesses grow and create jobs.
“As business groups and Labour have been arguing for months, if LEPs are going to be effective business-led organisations, they need to be properly resourced and the conclusions from the Centre for Cities report bear this out.
“In their hasty abolition of the Regional Development Agencies, the Government failed to produce any real transition plan meaning the fledging LEPs were unable to take on board existing RDA staff or expertise. Most worryingly, the report talks of the prospect of LEPs without Enterprise Zones becoming ‘second tier’ organisations with much less ability to make an impact.”