The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership has welcomed confirmation that a new Single Local Growth Fund will be created from 2015, to include skills, housing and transport funding.
In yesterday’s Budget, George Osborne gave more detail of how the Government intends to implement Lord Heseltine’s recommendations for equipping the UK to compete and thrive in the global race.
The Government has also said it will “harness the power of competition to get the best from places”, negotiating a local Growth Deal with every LEP, with the allocation of the Single Local Growth Fund reflecting the quality of their ideas and local need.
Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement, HotSW chairman Tim Jones said: “We are encouraged and pleased to see a move towards the single pot funding system. This will enable us to adopt a much more focused approach, targeting investment at a local level in greatest areas of opportunity, and of course need.”
Private sector HotSW board member and chief executive of Peninsula Enterprise Adam Chambers added: “We will be interested to learn how the funding will be allocated as the Heart of the South West does not have the critical mass in many respects that many cities and urban centres are able to command.
“We urge the Chancellor to look at a blend of funding mechanisms, which recognise the largely rural nature of our area, but give it the scope to realise its potential, contributing to economic growth across the peninsula.
“However, we welcome the Government’s intention to look at further deregulation of the private sector. It has been instrumental in creating growth across the manufacturing and retail sectors by cutting unnecessary red tape and is a positive and helpful move.”
Devon County Council leader Councillor John Hart said: “We are heartened by the commitment to develop strategic economic plans in conjunction with the LEP and local authorities. This will help to strengthen our local partnership and joint understanding of the issues that affect our area.
“The local authorities are the engines behind the Heart of the South West, providing the economic intelligence and resource to develop effective initiatives. By combining public and private sector practice we can develop a much more creative approach, and maximise our chances of success.”
Mr Jones concluded: “Our access to Whitehall has been good and has steadily improved; we are nonetheless pleased to see that this has been formally recognised and that the appropriate structures are being put into place.
“Our ability to inform and influence policy is dependent on ensuring effective communications and this will greatly assist our work in advocating the needs of the Heart of the South West with central Government.”