Leaders pledge to continue joint work on business once LEP is scrapped

By David Lawrence - Local Democracy Reporter

23rd Sep 2022 | Local News

Leaders addressing Warwickshire County Council's communities overview and scrutiny committee meeting said they would not undo the work done by the local enterprise partnership
Leaders addressing Warwickshire County Council's communities overview and scrutiny committee meeting said they would not undo the work done by the local enterprise partnership

Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire plan to continue working together once the local enterprise partnership [LEP] is scrapped.

The Government announced earlier this year that, following a review, the functions and activities of LEPs should be integrated into councils linked into wider devolution plans.

Mark Ryder, Warwickshire County Council's strategic director for communities, said it was important not to lose the good work carried out by Coventry and Warwickshire LEP.

Speaking at this week's communities overview and scrutiny committee meeting, he explained: "The priority is to retain what we have, deciding the assets and the work of the LEP that we want to continue with. 

"The Coventry and Warwickshire geography is really important – the key sectors that apply to both the travel between Coventry and Warwickshire for work, leisure and learning is a real thing we want to hold on to.

"There are also a number of real assets we want to hold on to of which the Growth Hub is the main one – the front door which we don't want to lose or reinvent. There are also the Place Board and Coventry and Warwickshire Champions and the very coherent working between the district and borough councils, the county council and the city council in terms of the work behind the scenes. We don't want the whole thing to be broken up and start again.

"You won't see that much change, though we will have to see about funding going forward for what follows the LEP."

He said it was still unsure how the Government would decide to distribute funding but added: "In Coventry and Warwickshire we are in a very different place than other LEPs in the country. 

"Firstly the combined authority splits it in half because of the Coventry element and over the last decade many LEPs nationwide have invested quite heavily in staffing where they have done a lot of the work in economic development. Fortunately, that hasn't been the case here where we have led that work at the county council so I wouldn't expect to see too much change."

The LEP will be wound down over the coming months with the full transition happening by March 2023.

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